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Uniformly, and to execute the capital letters, and horizontal 
movements in general* 

The fofe arm was by its lateral movement along me paper t© 
execute the letters and words in sentences^ and the oblique 
movements connected with their production. 

The hand was by the aid of the lingers to execute the small- 
er parts of the writing, and to aid as an auxiliary to the other 

free movements* / I 

Out of these three, be produced all the combinations requir- 
ed for practical penmanship, L ... '^M.,, t 

*' U The arm and fingers are thus used in forming the ca£ital 

letters, as B. : V „ 

2. The fore arm and fingers, the fore arm resting equally on 

i^f lower side, and held up at its extremity by the third and 

fourth fingers to execute words without capitals, 

1 the arm* fore arm and fingers to form words and senterv 

ces combining all the varieties of writing* as in the word Baltic 


The niode of teaching upon these principles is as peculiar as 
the combination of movement?, 

Mr, Carstairs .found that the elements of letters as written, 
consisted of several parts, and according to his plan, the 
pupils were first placed near a black board or a slate, with a 
pencil or a piece of chalk, and thoroughly exercised in forming 
the O ;\t being tjie first elementary constituent on Captains 
plan This is done to give freedom to the arm; and the 
facility of construction, not Us nicety is regarded. The regu- 
larity of form is kept out of sight,the pupil being in this stage 
of the process only required to execute freely. 

The Forms of letters are next explained, and while these are 
taught, the fingers are confined by an invention of Mr, Cars- 
tairs, which ensures their exercise according to his system, 
corrects any former bad habit of holding the hand or pen, and 
leads to an entire akeratiofi in these particulars - A ribbon is 
tied round the thumb and the first and second ringer, to compel 
the pupil to use his arm, and another round the third and 
fourth to bring them under the palm, so that the fore arm may 
rest on their tips, and the hand be carried along smoot lily upon 
the hard substance of the nails. 

This position being secured, the next exercises consist of the 
Formation of other elementary parts of the letters in perpen- 
dicular columns connected by bops, and then of letters an 1 
words connected in a similar way. This ^suTes freedom 
manner, and facility of execution* A sheet of paper is j 
prepare^ by being divided by a diagonal line running fir ^ 

ner to corner. The pupil is directed to write a particular word f 
in parallel lines beginning at the widest part of the triangle form- \ 
ed by the diagonal line, and continuing to .write it until the lines 
approach the bottom of the page. By this plan, the writer is i 
forced to vary the size of his letters as he descends the page* 
Slid it brings into play all the movements required by the sys- [ 
tern. Nothing similar to these ingenious exercises is to be 
found in any work which has come under our observation* 

The construction of ovals made in all directions, is also J 
taught to exercise the fore arm ; and lastly, the use of the fin- 
gers as auxiliary thereto, is taught by the construction of, 
the remaining elementary parts of the letters contained in IPs* 
t's and rPs. 

■ The style of writing thus produced is exceedingly neat and 
flowing. It recommends itself to the most casual observer for 
its excellence of character, and to the most prejudiced mind by 
the facility with which it is executed. It is the only &yste*ri we 
know of, which Can be acquired' within a limited nuniber^of 
lessons* There is evidence of the fact, that while the told sys- 
tems require years of practice to bring about the attainment of 
a practical hand,, this of Carstairs has produced the result so 
. desirable in every respect, in the space of one month, provided 
the pupil gave it the usual attention, demanded by any other 

Twenty lessons of one hour each, have been sufficient to cor* 
rect the most illegible hand writing, 

The engraved specimens, and the written copies of the pu- 
pils who have pursued the system of Carst airs', are highly sat- 
isfactory, and in our opinion, conclusive as to its merits, 

The public testimonials in its favor in England have already 
been mentioned. In France, the Royal University, to whose 
supervision the public education of the country is entrusted, 
appears to have taken it under its especial patronage, and al- | 
though it has been there known hitherto by many as the Anier- $ 
icjn system, we believe it is now justly and properly apprecia-\J 
ted, both with regard to its origin and utility. 

The society for elementary instruction, as late as June 25, 
1828, made a report, in which it received great praise, and was 
recommended for general adoption- 
It may be well to remark, that the hand writing in use in 
our judicial proceedings, requires amendment, as well as that 
taught in our schools. It is well known that the Court of Chan- 
cery in this state has been forced to make a rule on ihis subject, 
by which a legible and fiur hand writing is made preliminary to 


the filing of any papers by the Register of the Court- 

In this enlightened age, an admonition of this kind seems to 
carry with it a severe satire upon that system of education 
which is so defective as to make a provision of the kind ne- 

Every nation has a peculiar mode of writing, and our 
own should be distinguished for its business like character, 
its freedom and uniformity of appearance* To produce 
such a change, the improvement must commence with individu- 
als, and by them be, extended to others* Institutions of a lite- 
rary kind must interest themselves in promoting inquiry in re- 
lation to the subject, and it is due to the system \x Inch we have 
had under investigation, ibat it should be generally known, 
and examined, and this committee cannot hesitate to recom- 
mend its gener al a d op ! i o n , 


The utility of the art of Writing will not be called 
In question by any member of an enlightened com* 
munity. And whatever has a tendency to facilitate 
its acquisition and contribute to its improvement, 
cannot be destitute of interest. Such, in the opin- 
ion of the author, is the System invented by Car- 
stair^ which it is his object, in the present treatise, 
to lay before the American Public* 

Before proceeding to the immediate object of this 
publication, it may not be be improper to notice* 

I. The errors in the common methods of teach* 
ing the Art of Writing. 

IL The manner in which these errors ar« avoid- 
ed or corrected by the System of Carstairs, and 

III. The success which has attended this System 
in Europe and America, 

L Although there are many teachers of Writing 
*wh6 excel in the practice of the Art they profess? 
^ their mode of teaching it, is conceived to be exceed- 
ingly defective/ It is well known that pupils, after 
having been placed for several jears under the in- 
struction of masters of the highest reputation, in our 
best schools, are still unable to write a good busi* 
ness hand. When & specimen of their penmanship 
is desired, it is frequently in their power to produce 

a few lines executed with neatness and in juBt pro- 
portion; yet it generally has a stiff and formal ap- 
pearance, and is destitute of boldness or freedom. — 
Should you be present during the preparation of 
such a specimen, you will find that it is a tedious and 
laborious operation, requiring ruled lines, several 
new pens, the drawing of every stroke with care, 
the frequent use of the scraping knife and India rub- 
ber, and . the painting, as it is termed, of the parts that 
appear to be deficient in fulness and beauty. 

Now it is evident that the concerns of business and 
friendship cannot be delayed for all these pains tak- 
ing preliminaries. The clerk, who should make out 
accounts and invoices in this manner, would be at 
once discharged 1 as useless. It is true, that a few, in 
proportion to the whole number instructed, seem to 
have a peculiar aptitude for the art, and make great 
proficiency, solely by the guidance of a good taste, 
and the improvement which results from constant 
practice, .But what has just been described, is^he 
extent -to which scholars are generally brought upon 
the plan now pursued. When compelled to execute 
a specimen promptly and without the precautions 
adverted to, th^ir hand-writing is often, very often, 
irregular and scrawling, if not quite illegible/^ But 

* The writer is far from assarting that there is to be found in the schools in this 
country any thing like a systematic attempt to deceive parents, with regard to the 
progress made by their children in writing &ti% witeu the teacher, as is frequent- 
ly tTie case* has bestowed much pains upon his pupil, it is natural that ho ghotild 
deaire to receive suitable credit fur his attention Unhappily, the mode that is 
Adopted to show the' pupil's proficiency, by the preparali&n of cue or two tjpeci< 
mens, to which, a great deal of time and care is devoted, is as compietcly deceptiw 
in its oflecla, as if it were resorted to with the deliberate purpose of deception. 

The parent is pleased with the progress hi# children has made } and is soon no 
leas surprised than chagrined * to discover that this , progress , for all practical pur* 
pose*! is only im aginary j and that the usual hand- writing. of the child is little or no 
Setter than when be was il ret sent to school. The following anecdote is related by 
Mr- Carstajra. . . L*--' r * 

a A I/OudOD merchant sent his a<m to a school it ft disftiDce* withtbe view off 

IftTROBUtiTlCHN* Mill 

it is conceived to be fully as important that the pen- 
man should be expeditious, as that each of his letters 
should be well formed. It follows, therefore, that 
one who has learned the common school-boy band, 
can be of no service in a -counting-house, as a wri- 
ter; and hence it is generally found necessary to em* 
ploy the young men who enter mercantile houses, 
for months or years in copying letters, &c, and thus 
, to allow them to acquire an entirely new hand, be- 
fore they arc permitted to write a line in the Jour- 
nal or Leger, It may be confidently asserted, that 
only a very few of those who are taught writing in 
oar schools, are able to write well at the time of their 
leaving them. The remainder, though they may 
have learned to form the letters, and can distinguish 
a good from a bad letter, are utterly unable to writfe 
even a tolerable hand with facility. Nor is this all : 
not only is much time wasted in the vain attempt to 
acquire a good hand, but in many instances, bad 
habits of sitting and of holding the pen are formed, 
which it is difficulty nay, sometimes impossible to 

It cannot, be doubted that, if the mode of Writing 
originally taught the pupil was such as is most easy 
and natural, it would ever, after be more convenient. 

qualifying him for lite count tug-house. At the end of six months* he was much 
gratified hy receiving from him a specimen of writing, displaying the appearance of 
great improvement. ' This raised such expectations of his son's future proficiency, 
in an accomplishment for which he would have ao much use in life^ that he took oc- 
casion frrim it to recommend the schuoJ to his friends. Another half year expired: 
another *j>ecimen of writing, still more beautiful lhati the former, name heme to the, 
Either:, with which he was no delighted, that he extolled the school in -every direct 
lion, One tp.rm after another passed away, with the manifest and increasing im- 
provement of his *on. At length* Shin king him fully competent to business, he 
placed him in Ms own counting-house* He ftrat set him tii tnake out invoices; but, 
to hi a gr*at surprise, he found him incapable of writing a single line well enough to 
go out of hi s establish mailt* without disgracing it** He immediately phced him 
under the tuition of JMr. C&rslftirs, where his improvement was such as to indued 
his father fo scud o^hfrs of his familv-io fee instructed in M.r. CV. vmr .sTtteri, 



for him to follow that mode. And if the habit of 
writing well be once acquired, it will seldom degene- 
rate into that careless and scrawling hand* which we 
are so often obliged to decypber* 

Since such are the effects of the prevalent method 
of teaching the art of writing, it may be safely infer- 
red , that that method is radically incorrect. It is now 
aboutthirty years, since Joseph Carstairs, a teacher of 
Writing in London, arrived at the same conclusion. 
He was led by his fondness for the art, carefully to 
enquire into the causes of the evils above alluded to, 
and also irate the means of removing them. After a 
thorough examination of the subject, he satisfied 
himself, that the evils of the old system arose chiefly 
from its insisting' -upon the use of the fingers alone, 
without a simultaneous movement of the arm. To 
this may be added the ordinary mode of giving les- 
sons in this arL For this purpose, a particular hour 
is set apart once a day in some cases, and three times 
a .week in others, during which the pupil is required 
to write from lour lines to a page, in imitation of a 
line written by the teacher, or from an engraved co- 
py-slip. More than this is not required, and is rare- 
ly allowed to be done ; and the reason which is giv- 
en for the adoption of this course, is to prevent the 
pupil from becoming wearied and disgusted with the 
acquisition of the art. But though weariness and 
disgust are to be avoided, if possible, it is evident 
that if an art is to be acquired with the least expense 
of time and labour, it should be made the chief ob- 
ject of attention. u JYbtturna versate manu^ versaie di* 
nrm" i is no less applicable to poetry than to the mmm-* 


&1 art of Writing. But the prevailing mode of teach- 
ing, on the contrary, is to bring the pupil to his writ- 
ing at long intervals, and to take him away before he 
has time to become interested in it ; thus he often 
contracts, not only indifference, but dislike for the 
employment Add to this, that the care of the writ- 
ing-master ends with his hoar or half hour, and in 
all the various exercises that may be required by 
other teachers, as for instance, the writing of French 
or Latin exercises, no comment is usually made 
upon the penmanship. The pupil, therefore, hurries 
through his exercise, attentive to that alone which 
will be criticised; and in the end comes off even 
worse than Penelope with her web s for she oniy un- 
ravelled at night what she had woven in the day, 
while the- scholars of whom f speak, not only lose all 
they had gained, but acquire bad habits, which in 
many instances cleave to them through life. 

The mode of teaching which has just been objected 
to, is adopted, it is said, to prevent the pupil from be- 
ing fatigued and disgusted with that which it is neces- 
sary for him to learn. But if he were taught in that 
mode which should keep his body, as well as his arm 
and hand in an easy unconstrained position; and if 
at the same time he were to see clearly that he was 
making daily and hourly progress towards elegant 
penmanship, he would never be sensible of disgust 
or weariness* 

■II. But the defects in the old method of teaching 
penmanship, will be rendered still more apparent, 
by noticing the improvements which have been pro* 
posed and successfully adopted by Oaretairs. 


■ t t m ■ * - W- 

A? in the other aris, so in that of writing, whatever 
is found to be the practice of those who arrive at the 
greatest perfection, is entitled to the attention of the 
candid enquirer. What an individual does every 
day in the year and every hoor in the day, he is more 
likely to do well, than one who only pursues the 
same occupation at occasional intervals. The paint- 
er may naturally be presumed to have greater skill 
in handling the brush, than one .who takes it up for 
temporary amusement ; so also those who make beau- 
tiful penmanship at once their business and pleasure, 
will acquire greater facility in the use of the pen, 
than other persons, Mr. Carstairs remarked, that 
every elegant and ready penman, often, perhaps 
without being conscious of thefact, uses the fore-arm 
and hand, as much and as readily as the fingers ; and 
that the more rapid the execution, the greater is the 
use made of the fore-arm. The reason is obvious ; 
the muscles of the arm being much stronger than 
those of the fitigers and thumb, are not so soon wea- 
ried, and the movement that is the least fatiguing is 
insensibly adopted by one who is constantly practis- 
ing the art Besides, as the words proceed from left 
to right, it is evident, that any one who depends on 
the use of the fingers alone, without a simultaneous 
movement of the arm or fore-arm, will be utiable to 
write a word extending an inch or more upon the line* 
without having his hand gradually thrown over from 
left to right, in order to allow for the action of the 
pen upon the paper ; the third and fourth fingers re- 
maining fixed, while the other two are carrying the 
jfren to the end of a long word, the hand and fingers 


iwr ROB UGT 10 * . xxv ii 

are painfully cramped and strained. On finishing 
one word, moreover, the hand is jerked along, and 
the under fingers made to take up a new position.— 
This they retain till the hand is again gradually turn- 
ed nearly or quite over, and the fingers that hold 
the pen are again stretched as far in advance of the 
others as they can bear, when a new jerk is given to 
the hand, and so on till the writing is finished* 

This then, Mr* Carstairs was led to consider as the 
origin of the many evils which result from the ©Id 
method of teaching penmanship, viz i—tkat the pupil 
is permitted or directed to rest the wrists and generally al- 
so the third and fourth fingers, and to execute if™ writing 
with the fingers alone. 

Let any one whose hand-writing is very bad, ob- 
serve his own mode of writing, and in nine cases out 
of ten,, he will find that he bears the weight of his 
arm upon the wrist, and uses the two last fingers as 
a fixed prop- Thus the hand-writing of the person 
is uneven and crooked, and so long as he leans upon 
his wrist, how can it be otherwise t The radius of 
the circle of motion is very short, reaching only from 
the end of the third and fourth fingers, which are fix- 
ed to the point of the pen. The centre of motion is 
changed every lime he Mi^the^vrist, and his writ* 
ing very naturally takeTthe form of successive seg- 
ments of small cycles ; to prevent which, he is oblig- 
ed to make constant efforts to keep a straight line, 
which wearies and pains his fingers. Another per- 
son is sensible of the difficulties just mentioned, and 
to avoid them, he takes off the pen and moves the 
band at the end of every downward stroke : the e£ 

ex vm ik tb o&vc wi 

feci of this, indeed, Is to keep the writing tolerably 
straight and uniform, bat at the same time it is want- 
ing in the appearance of gracefulness and case* Be j 
sides, upon this plan, ntf person can write with ra- 
pidity ; and hence it can never be adopted in the or- 
dinary concerns of business or commerce. 

The causes which have now been briefly adverted 
to, conspire to render the old method of teaching 
the art of Writing totally inadequate to effect the ob- 
ject for which they are intended : which is, to prepare 
the pupil for the concerns of active life. To attain 
this end in a more easy and certain manner, Mr* Car-^ 
stairs recommends the following general plan : 

1. To teach the pupil to form the letters of the 
alphabet by the movement of the arm alone, without 
a separate movement of the fingers. 

2. To teach the movement of the fore-arm^the 
arm resting on the table near the elbow, r 

3. To teach the movement of the fingers. 
4- The combination of. these movements, . 

The manner in< which these objects are effected^ 
will be particularly explained in a subsequent part 
of this work, • t ' ■ 

HL The last point to which the author would 
briefly direct the attention bf hk readers, is to the 
success which has attended the System of Carstairs, 
and which, in his opinion, furnish abundant proof of 
the correctness of what has heretofore been said cony 
eerning it 

For upwards of twenty years, Mr, Carstairs has 
been engaged in teaching his system, in the city ©f 
London, with distinguished success/ He has been 

resorted to by persons of both sexes, of all classes^ 
including many of the nobility, gentlemen, merchants 
and mechanics. And notwithstanding the deep root- 
ed prejudices which the system was destined to en? 
counter, its utility is now very generally acknowledg- 
ed in that country.. ' ,\> 

v But it is not otlly to a few private individuals that 
reference is to be made in behalf of the Carstairiaa 
System. Men of rank and of high public standing* 
have in the most public manner given it their unquali- 
fied sanction. 

In July, 18 1 6, a large and respectable meeting was 
convened at the Freemasons' Tavern in London, at 
which the late Duke of Kent, the brother of the pre- 
sent King, presided. Joseph Hume, well known 
in England and in this country, took an active part 
in the proceedings of the meeting. The object was, 
to satisfy in a public manner, those who might enter- 
tain doubts as to the practicability and value of the 
Carstairian system. To this end, the Duke of Kent 
informed the audience, that he had directed a num- 
ber of poor bpys to be placed under the tuition of 
Mr, Carstairs, in order that a fair experiment might 
be made of the merits of his System, and he could 
speak without hesitation of their rapid and extraor- 
dinary progress. Their writing books were also pro- 
duced, so that all present might judge for themselves 
of the effects of Mr. Carstairs* instruction, by com 1 - 
paring the former cramped writing of these children, 
with the free, quick and beautiful hand which they 
wrote after only six weeks tuition. After a due ex- 
amination, the assembly came to an unanimous reso- 

tax' itoeobpcotm. 

lotion, on motion of Mr* Hume, in favor of Mr, Car- 
stairs* method, as « very superior to any now in use," 
and also as affording such a facility in the acquisition 
of the art, "as to be a saving both of time and ex- 
pense," The resolution concluded with a strong re- 
commendation of the System to public attention, 
and was signed by the distinguished individual who 
presided, and also by Mr, Hume and twelve other 
gentlemen^ all of whom were of high standing. [See 

, To make his improvement more extensively 
known, Mr, Car stairs published a work on the Art of 
Writing, which contains the principles of his method 
of teaching. It is no small proof of the estimation in 
which this system is held in England, that this work 
has passed through six editions. It is the sixth edi- 
tion, published in 1828, which has been used in the 
compilation of this treatise. 

But the success of this System has not been con- 
fined to England alone* It was first taught in France* 
by one who had received his instruction from Car- 
stairs. Its excellence soon attracted the attention of 
the French Society for the Encouragement of Na- 
tional Industry, who appointed a special committee 
to examine the subject. This committee made a de- 
tailed report upon the System, recommending it very 
warmly to the notice of the Society, The report 
was accepted, and at the suggestion of the Society, 
a translation of Mr. Carstairs' book was made into 
French, which passed through four editions, [See 

la June 5 1$2# 3 this System was also examined by 

a committee of the Society for Elementary Instruc- 
tion, under the presidency of the Duke of Doudeau- 
ville. This committee gave their unqualified sanc- 
tion to the merits of Mr. Carstairs; who, in their lan- 
guage,*' has rendered an important service to the Art 
of Writing, by his invention, and by the publication 
of his work,"' [See Appendix*] 

In August of the same year, the System of Car- 
stairs was examined by a special commission appoint- 
ed by the Minister of Public Instruction, In their re- 
port, the commission assert, that without refusing the 
testimony in its favor, it is impossible to deny the ad- 
vantages of this method — and they recommend its 
adoption iri the Colleges of the University, And in 
November, 1828, this recommendation was complied 
with. Copies of the System of Carstaim, translated 
by Julien, were gratuitously sent by the Minister of 
Public Instruction, to the Rectors of the various col- 
lege&y accompanied with a circular, in which the in- 
troduction of the System is enjoined. Add to all this 
mass of testimony the fact, that upwards of twenty 
editions of works, all based upon the System of Car- 
stairs, have been published in France, since 1825, 
and we cannot doubt for a moment the high estima- 
tion in which it is held" in that country; 

This System has also been tested by fair experi- 
ment in this country. The writer of these pages has 
had under his tuition, upwards of two hundred pupils, 
within eighteen months past; and during that expe- 
rience nothing has occurred which has for a moment 
shaken his confidence in the correctness of the prin- 
ciples laid down by Carstairs, On the contrary, 


every day has eontri bated to establish more firmly 
his conviction, that if the art of Writing were taught 
on the plan recommended by Mr, Carstairs, the pro- 
portion of good writers to bad would be increased 
ten fold, and the saving of time and expense iq ac- 
quiring the art would be incalculable; 

In conclusion, it is conceived by the author, that 
if any system is calculated to make good penmen — ■ 
such as can write a rapid, elegant and truly mercan- 
tile hand, it is that whose general outline, has been 
sketched. It may be truly said of it, that ii is the 
only system which approaches to an analysis, of the 
art; and in which the line is drawn between two 
things which ought never to be confounded, viz : the 
idea which the mind conceives of the forms and pro- 
portions of the letters, and the mechanical move- 
ments, commonly called 6i command of hand," by v 
which these forms are expressed upon paper. But 
the greatest merit of Carstairs^ System, consists not 
so immediately in this analysis, as in something which • 
results from it; in calling the pupil's attention to the 
movements by which writing is executed, and thus . , 
inducing him to study and practice these movements, 
and not to confine his regard to the mere shapes of 
the letters. And it is respectfully submitted to the 
judgment of every candid and intelligent individual, / 
whether the distinction thus drawn between the con- 
ception and execution of Writing be not a just one j 
and whether a more particular attention than has 
hitherto been devoted to the latter, would not be 
likely to produce better results than are generally 
obtained from the common modes of induction. 


Section I, 

0fiFmraos.— Essentials to skill in the practice of the 



... ' . . ■ - ■ . .-. . 1 | ■ , ; : * 

Practical Penmanship is the art of forming letters 
with a pen, and joining them into words bj an un- 
interrupted series of m^rks, executed by the com- 
bined movements of the arm, hand and fingers.^ 

Two things are essential to skill in this art. 

I, A knowledge of the forms and proportions of the 

II. The power of executing these Letters on paper* 

■* It may be objected to this definition, that i( excludes much beautiful writing 
of the kind termed ornament .If sketching or drawing the oiidinea of letter? 
with h black lead pencil, and Ming those outlines with ink, can be called penman- 
ship, then may the engrarer have equal claims to distinction in the art of penman- 
ship, with "one who excels in what ip properly railed writing. 

Ihe engraver cuts the copper gradually t and so finishes bis letters by slow 
degrees, and not by one stroke of the tool he uses; and the ornamental writers p\yt 
on ink by degrees, to give shade or body to their letters and flourishes- By this 
process, some bave employed many weeSs ia the production of a single specimen, 
and whole fears In the completion of sis or eight pieces. ' Such productions are, 
no doubt, frequently executed with an elegance and freedom truly admirable, and 
diaplay a degree of good taste highly creditable to the artist. But it must l>e ap^ 
parent t£> all, that ornamental writing ia quite a distinct art-from writing m applied 
to the purposes of commerce. The former is one of the fine artSj though not usua^y 
*S ai& u<? among them; the latter ia strictly a useful art, and it is this a&ne which i@ 
*,he object Of the present worfu Still, to' obviate erasure for so limited a nse of the 
w-ord paimmisktpi the t#™ practical is prefixed t thus confining the definition tv 
*hat Bpencs of writin a; whiflfe i a of acmes in the jir*c ti eal cone eras of life* 


Circular addressed to the Rectors of the French Academics, 
Reports of the Commissioners of the Royal University of France, 
and the Society for Elementary Ins traction, charged with an ex- 
amination of Carstairs' System of writing. Resolutions passed 
at a meeting held in London, in which this System was examin- 
ed* Extracts from foreign Reviews, &c. 


His Excellency ,The Minister of Public Education,has address- 
ed to the Rectors of all the Academies of France} the following 
circular : 

Office of Public Education, J 
University of France. > 
, November 22, 1838. ) 
Mr* Rector, — I have the honour to communicate to you a 
resolution which the Council Royal adopted at its session of 
the 30th August last- 
Council Royal, &c* 

"On seeing the Report presented by the Commission which 
was charged by His Excellency to examine Mr* Carstairs 1 Sys- 
tem of Writing, as it has been exhibited in his work translated 
by M. Julien, Sub-Librarian of the Institute; 

Resolved^ That one hundred and twenty copies of this work 
be taken on account of the University, and that these copies 
be sent to the Rectors, with a request to transmit them to the 
primary Instructors who shall appear most in condition to cm- 
ploy this system with advantage." 

According to this resolution, Mr, Rector, I solicit you to fa- 
vour the publicity of this work in the whole purlieu of your 
Academy, and I have, in consequence, the honour to transmit 
to you copies. , 

Receive, Mr* Rector ? the assurance of my distinguished re* 

; ' (signed) DE VATISMESNIL* 

Minister of Public ) 
4ji Education* y 







Report addressed to His Excellency, the Minister of Public 
Education, by a special commission charged with the exam- 
ination of Carstairs* System of Writing, ' * , 


- M. Julien, Sub-Librarian of the Institute, has already pub* 
lished two editions of the method of teaching elegant and ex- 
peditious writing in a very short time, invented by Mr- J Gar- 
stairs. As he solicits for this work the approbation of the 
Council Royal, and its adoption in tin? establishments of the 
University, his demand has^ been sent to the Commission 
previously charged* by letter of bis Excellency, to examine 
Messieurs Maille and Bernardet's methods of writing and 

f The Commission began by communicating with M Juli- 
en ; and learned from him how he had been led to undertake 
this work, of which he is far from making an object of specu- 
lation, and which seemed so foreign to his functions, and to 
pursuits of a much higher order to which he is devoted. 

The Commission thought it necessary first to form an ex- 
act idea of the -method itself, before attempting to judge of it by 
its results : and upon the second edition, already exhausted, 
of the translation it conducted its examination* If it has ful- 
ly comprehended the meaning of the work, Carstairs* Sys- 
tem consists in making the action of the 0% hand and fingers, 
Concur equally in writing* He commences by habituating his 
pupil to the movements of the arm by a great number of ex- 
ercises, which are at first executed without any participation 
of the hand ; or fingers ; and which accustom him to run the 
pen over the paper, and to give, at the same time, uniform and 
graceful shapes to, the letters. 

During the execution of these exercises, the arm must not. 
rest on the table at any point ; and has no other support than 
the two last fmgers-of the hand which glides lightly upon the 
aurlace of the nails- 
He soon adds those which must be executed with the 
hand and foTe-arm, and then only does he begin to suffer the 
arm to rest lightly at the elbow which becomes a centre of mo- 
tion.. But he still forbids the bending of the fingers. It i& 
not until the habit of this double movement appears suffi- 
ciently acquired , thirt Mr* Carstairs accustoms his pupil to 

the play of the joints combined with the movement of the hancj 
and fore-arm ; at first by writing large hand, and afterwards by 
a diminution of the size of the characters; the diminution grad- 
uated in an ingenious manner. 

The Commission will not here enfer into the details of the 
mechanical process which concerns either the form of each 
letter in particular, or the mode of junction between them* It 
will be content with saying that Mr, Carstairs has never lost 
sight of the principal object which he proposed to himself, that 
is, to lead the pupil in the shortest possible time, to the swiftest 
running hand. 

In reflecting on the course which he has adopted, and in 
spite of his constant opposition to the notions we have v all im- 
bibed from infancy, one cannot dissemble that it is founded on 
reason and experience* As is judiciously remarked by the 

* c If one observes those persons who write with most rapid- 
ity, he will see that the hand and fore-arm concur, as well as 
the fingers, in the formation of the letters ; and that the more 
swiftly they write, the more the movement of the fore-arm 
appears to predominate. They follow, consequently, Car- 
stairs 7 System, without suspecting it Necessity has taught 

However, reasonable this method appeared, it seemed most 
proper to judge of it definitively in practice* It is here, in 
fact, that the most specious plans ordinarily fail ; and before 
making up our opinion, it was incumbent on us carefully to ob- 
serve the results of Mr* Carstairs' System* 

At a recent period^ the Principal of the College of Alancon 
thought it his duty to try this method. He procured from 
Paris M- Julien's translation, and the Inspector General 
who visited that establishment had an opportunity of ascertain- 
ing its effects. Children who scarcely knew how to form their 
letters, came in less than two months to write with much neat- 
ness and equal facility. 

It appeared then impossible, without refusing to yield to con- 
viction, to contest the advantages of this system, M. Julien ? 
moreover, has made real sacrifices in order to diffuse it- The 
fourth edition, which he is preparing to publish, and which will 
appear as soon as the council shall have given its decision, 
will contain new processes, and additions which have been 
communicated to him by Mr* Carstairs, and which he has sub- 
mitted to our view- 
Consequently, the Commission is of opinion that his work 
is worthy in all respect^ to obtain the approbation of the 

Nvrtficm District of tfw-1for$t t to 

Be it RfiMEMBEREP, that on the tenth day of April, in the filly* 
year of the In depend fence of the United States of America, A. Ijs 
iSm t B. F. Foster of the said District, hath deposited in this office 
the title of a hook the right whereof he claims us author, in the w^rds 
following, to wtt: "Practical Penmanship, being a developement or 
the Carstairian System. II las .rated by 24 Engrafings. By B- R 

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United S^e^nt.tlcd » An act for 
the encouragement of learning by aecnrmg the copies of Maps Chart*, and Books 
to the authors and proprietor* of iu^h copie*, during the tiroes therein mentioned;"' 
and also, to an act entitled « An act supplementary to an act entitled An act foe 
the encouragement of learning, by scaring the copies of Maps, Charts, ami Booke, 
to the authors and proprietors of such copies daring the times therein mentioned,' and 
extending the benWs thereof to the arts of Designing, Engraving and Etching hia<* 
torieal and other prints* R R 

Cterk of the District Court of the United State t for 
the Northim District offfctv+York* 


^ \ 

No art which contributes materially to the convenience and happiness of man- 
kind is beneath the attention of the most exalted intellect. It will not be denied 
that writing is such an art, and in proportion to its utility should be the pains 
taken to come at the right method of practising it 

No apology will therefore be required, by the candid and intelligenti for the 
present attempt to point out important deficiencies in the prevailing methods of 
teaching the art of writing, and to suggest the means by which those deficien- 
cies may be supplied. 

The following are Mr* Caratairs* remarks in relation to his system : — Had I 
been able only to descant on those common modes and principles of penmanship 
by which the school-boy* after the labour of many years, is enabled to write a 
slow, stiff, and formal hand, I should have refrained from obtruding my studies 
on the notice of the public - but haying, in the course of my professional labours, 
been led to the invention of a new mode of writing, facilitating to m almost in- 
credible degree the acquisition of the art, and communicating to the youngest 
scholar the freedom and despatch that were formerly considered the desiderata 
of the art; I am not without hope that my appeal to the public will be encour- 
aged as demonstrating only a proper and honourable enthusiasm in the propaga- 
tion of a system which has already proved of general and invaluable utility.** 

It is believed that the instructions contained in this publication will enable the 
heads of schools, and all persons desirous of learning or teaching the art of writ- 
ing, to do SO upon correct and scientific principles, and as this system is found- 
ed on the unvarying laws of nature, as developed in the anatomy of the arin, 
hand and fingers, the author doubts riot that it will eventually s in the necessary 
progress of society, triumph over every prejudice and be universally adopted. 

The work is* with confidence, respectfully submitted to the good sense of a 
liberal and enlightened community* 


Jltbtmy Female Academy, \ 
JpriilQtht 1830 J 

Council lioyal > and that, the Carstairian System may hi 
adopted, with advantage, for the leaching of writing in the 
Colleges of the University. 

Adopted in session the 30th August, 1823* 
Signed, DELVINCGORT, President 

POULLET DE LISLE, Inspector General of 


eral of Studies, C ommissi oner- Asso cial e* 


SESSION OF THE 2&th J0HE, 1825* 



tlEfOBT upon the system of Writing, invented hy Mr. Carstmrst 
made in the name of the Commission of Methods* to which were 
associated Messieurs Merimee, Lebmuf and Francamr. 

Gentlemen,— M* Julien, Sub-Librarian of the Institute has 
presented you the first and second editions of a work he has 
published entitled, " Carstairim System, fe&efa 6alUd Mm^»^ 
System, or the art of karning to write in a few lessons* translated 
from the English under the direction of the Author^ 8fc. 

The system which this work is intended to develope has alj 
ready been known some years in Paris, where it has been put 
in practice, with success, by abie masters. It has been ex- 
plained in detail in two reports, made to the Society of Encour- 
agement, which you have had before you. Its .happy result 
have been confirmed by numerous experiments which manj^ 
among you have directed or followed ; and every day they may 
still be verified in Paris, in the public schools in which writing 
is taught after the Carstairian System. 

Tou know, gentlemen, that this raelhod> of which the means 
are so efficacious that professors have considered it as am 
which must produce a (revolution in the teaching of writing 

ft. APPENDIX* 105 

consists in a reform in the position of the hand, and the man- 
ner of guiding the pen. 

The masters from whom Ave all received lessons in writing, 
taught us and recommended us to place the fore-arm and hand 
upon the paper, to move the fingers alone, to execute thus a 
portion of the writing, to transport the arur, resume the pre- 
scribed position, then after a new portion of writing, to trans- 
port the arm again, to the end of the Sine, 

Thence according to the partisans of the reform, results fa- 
tigue in the fingers, a long and difficult execution, want of par- 
allelism in thektters, and in the disposition of the words ; and 
what is above all troublesome, the necessity of practising with 
care many years to arrive at a satisfactory proficiency* 

In Mr- Carstairs method, the arm and hand, instead of rest- 
ing upon the paper, rest as if suspended, and glide lightly on 
the extremity of the naite of .the two last fingers ; tile writing is 
executed by the movement of the fingers, the haiidj and the arm, 
or fore-arm t so that the arm follows incessantly the progress 
of the writing. 

Such, gentlemen, is the explanation of a process which forms 
the essential principle of the system invented by Carstairs. In 
this process are found all the means of an easy and swift hand- 
writing, the habit of which may be acquired with ease, be- 
cause the exercises have nothing painful in them # 

Mr* Carstairs, to habituate his pupils to the movement 
which he has adopted, and above all. to combat the effects of 
the long use of a different movement, subjects the fingers to a 
ligature which is so contrived that the pupil is compelled to ex- 
ecute the writing by following the prescribed movement and 
correcting thus the defect of his own old habit* 

Such an innovation could not have been understood or ap^ 
predated if Mr. Carstairs had not adapted his system to a. 
course of lessons in writing. In this view his work presents 
devebpements which deserve to be studied even independently 
of his method* In it is found, particularly, an analysis of the 
characters used in writing, which may be all reduced to an in- 
considerable number of elementary forms. The author has 
invented exercises graduated with skill, adapted to give the 
hand a great swiftness of execution. The copies which he pla- 
ces before his pupil, present a character uniform and elegant* 
We observe, however, thnt these particular copies are not ab* 
solutely required by Mr* Carstairs process, who can avail him- 
self equally, in writing, of an entirely different character. So 
that the tastes and prejudices which exist in this art are quite 
at peace with Mr. Carstairs' svstem- 



We do not hesitate, gentlemen, to express to you the opiniotf 
that Mr. Castairs has rendered a great service to the art ot 
writing by bis invention, and by the publication of bis work. 

We have received in communication several manuscripts- 
of Mr. Carstairs; which prove to us that he is as commend- , 
able for his own expertrtess in the art which he teachers ior 
his disinterestedness and perseverance in I&bonr, Jusriy 
appreciating the importance of hia discovery, he aspires to 
no other honour than that of being recognized as its author.- 
His desires roust be fully satisfied by the honourable suffrage 
Whirhhe received in London, in 1816, in an assembly com- 
posed of distinguished personages, and m which His Koy- 
ll Highness thl Duke of Kent presided. Nothmg m our 
n. ^ should trouble him in the possession of the title ot In- 
vent ■ 'f of ^ hicn sucl1 a s " ffra S e is e 1 ual to an ex P ress COt1 *- 

A^r having giveO'our thanks to Mf. Caretairs, we have W 
f Sk-to you of those we owe to M. Julien, who, by his trans- 
it w has discovered to us a method the whole of which elu- 
ded our researches. Devoted to labours which promise^ him 
new success In science and literature, he has voluntarily defer-. 
Ved publications of a higher order to become modestly useful' 
in elementary instruction; This disinterestedness, which does 
honour to his character, is a new motive to recommend the 

work which he has published* < * m„- n™- ' 

•^his Commission propose to you to declare that Mr. Oai- 
staiis and M. Julien have deserved the thanks of the society 

«*t 3™**"*"*' Adopted inSession S8th June, 1828. 

, Signed LEBOEUF, Reporter. 

WILHEM, V Commissioners.- 

&trueCopy 3 i 

JOMBARDj 8emtary«> 



The following Letter 3 is a report of Uu plan of teaching tv Wiit- 
■TiSNg/ 5 gs developed and improved by Mtv Carstairs, addressed 
to His Royal Higknm, the DUKE OF KENT/.&e. &c. &c. 

By Joseph Hume, Esq.. M P. 

To His Royal Highness^ 23 Gloucester Placer 

the Duke of Kent, Sfc. Jan, 16, 1316* 


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of youi letter 
►of the 4th inst inclosing the letter of Mr. Carstairs to your 
Royal Highness, upon which you are pleased to desire my 
opinion and report, 

I have perused with attention Mr. Carstairs book on the art 
of Penmanship, and have also had a long conversation with 
.that gentleman explanatory of his method of teaching ; and 
now beg leave in obedience to your Royal Highness* com- 
mands, to submit the following observations for year informa- 

I have much pleasure in stating that this method of teaching 
Penmanship appears to be very superior to those now in use, 
and such as would be highly worthy of patronage and support 

The free use of the. fingers, hand, aftd arm, as taught by Mr. 
Car stairs affords go great a facility to the art of writing,, that I 
venture to offer to your Royal Highness an opinion that if it 
were generally introduced in schools, it will be productive of 
almost equal utility in the practice of writing which the intro- 
duction of Lancaster's method is likely to effect in reading. 

Your Royal Highness has incurred considerable expense, 
^nd taken a great deal of time and trouble to encourage edu- 
cation amongst the lower and middle classes of society, by pa- 
tronizing those plans which have been found conducive to that 
purpose, and in furtherance of that general object, I think your 
Royal Highness may soon be convinced that Mr. Carstairs 7 
method of teaching the art of writing is equally deserving of 
your favour and attention, as any branch of general education 
which you have patronized* 

I would* therefore, anxiously recommend to your Royal High- 
ness to direct a public trial of Mr. Carstairs' method to be 
made by selecting six individuals, with whom Mr* Carstairs 
shall he required to try the effects of his method of teaching, 
as I hope by that trial he will prove and bring into notice the 
superior quickness, facility, and perfection of his system, 

I shall be happy to aid your Roysl Highness to effect these 
^ery desirable objects, and have the honor to remain^ &c. 

(Signed) JOSEPH HUME, 



Resolutions passed at a Mating held at the Free-masons* Tavern. 
London, in which the, system of Mr. Carstairs was examined* 

O n the 9 th of J uly 1818, a n n m e rous m eetin g of ladies and 
gentlemen took place at the Free-masonVtavern> at whfeK Mr* 
Carstairs explained the principles of Ilia mw method of teaching ; 
writing, and demonstrated the advantages which it possessed 
over every other now in use. His Royal Highness, the Dukc 
of Kent, who presided on that occasion, informed the csompa- - 
ny that he hod heen induced to give Hi? attention to. the subject 
in such a manner as to be able to bear witness to its* utility, con- 
vinced that any improvement in the methods of education was 
a benefit to society ; and that whatever tended to abridge the 
process of actpiring instruction^ was equivalent to a eonsidec a- 
bie pecuniary gift Upon this principle^ when die system of 
Mr. Carstairs was explained to him, he became anxious to 
judge of its merits himself, and with this view he had directed 
several boys, who had made but little progress in writing, to be 
placed under the superintendence of that gentleman. Of their 
rapid and extraordinary progress he could speak in the most 
confident manner. Indeed, the company themselves might 
judge by inspecting their books, by which, it would be seen how 
very cramped their writing was when they commenced with Mr. 
Carstairs, compared with [hefreedvm, quickness, and beauty, which 
they attained in the course of only six weeks under his care. 

Several gentlemen were present, who having received les- 
sons, also bore testimony to the same effect ; and Mr. Hume 
informed the company that the great object of making the pu- 
pils exhibit their proficiency, was to remove a prejudice which 
prevailed against the practicability of what Mr. Carstairs held 
out; and, therefore, if the company were satisfied with what 
they had heard, and convinced by what they mw, they would 
not refuse their testimony of approbation, in endeavouring v by 
every means iri their power, to recommend the system to the 
adoption of schools and other public seminaries 

Mr- Hume then proposed that the meeting should come to 
some resolutions expressive of the satisfaction which was felt 
at witnessing the self-evident advantages of Mr* Carstairs 1 sys- 
tem; and k was accordingly 

Unanimously Resoled, 
That Mr. Carstairs* method of teaching Penmanship appears 
to this Meeting vei-y superior to any note m use 7 and therefore high* 
hj worthy of public attention, : 



Resolved Unanimously, ' ■ v 
That the free use of the fingers, hand, and arm> as taught by 
Mr. Carstairs* method, affords such facility to iheJirt of Writing, 
that if generally introduced into schools f mil be a saving both of 
time and expense ; and this Meeting do therefore strongly recom- 
mend it to the favourable attention of the public in general, ' and 
in particular to all persons interested in teaching that brandt of 

(Signed) EDWMRD {Duke of Kent.) 
J, CoLLiSK, D. D. M, Qmm, 

J\ Rduge, M. A. T. Season, 


J> Millar, J. Bokd, D* D. 

R, Llovd, J- Galt, 

J, HrjMK, M, P. J- Hudson, 

C, Downie, K. C, X W. Tapiin, 

From the European Magazine 

Among the improvements in all that conduces to the conven- 
ience of life, and the extension and perfection of art, which have 
distinguished the present age, we strongly recommend the new 
principle of movement adopted by Mr. Carstairs, in his sys- 
tem of writing, as being really useful and ingenious. 

From the JVtfifl Monthly Magazine. 

Mr, Carstairs has the merit of having supplied an interesting 
desideratum in literature, and of having invented an admirable 
system, by which not only excellence in writing may be acquir- 
ed with ease, but a wretched hand be corrected^ and bad habits 
be reformed by those who from long practice may be consider- 
ed as incapable of deriving any benefit from rules, or improve- 
ment from examples. . - 

From the Monthly Review* 

Grown peT&ons who are not fortunate in the use of the pen* 
and fdjo have still to acquire the grace of legibility in their hand 
writing, will do well to purchase i bis book and exercise them- 
selves after the manner suggested* The old associations be- 
tween vicious contours of letter, and habitual movement of the 
fingers, will be much disturbed and broken hy practising re- 
peatedly on Mr, Carstairs' elementary flourishes* 


From the New Monthly Magazine. 

It is with peculiar pleasure that we again advert to this ingen- 
ious production, the merits of which, on a perusal of the last' 
edition appear to us, if possible, yet more obvious; and to our 
former unequivocal praise we can now merely add the assur- 
ance, that subsequent reflection and observation have convince 
ed us that we did the author no more than justice. The actuat- 
ing principle throughout is the looping of letters and words to- 
gether ; and those who have not perused the work can form lit- 
tie idea how its excellence is exemplified in six lessons. Even 
those who have long contracted the most vicious habit?, may, 
in a short time, attain purity and elegance; this, in fact, appears 
to us his greatest triumph* Upon the whole, we feel that in re^ 
* commending this production, we perform a duty to all classes/ 

From the European Magazine, 

Among the multiplicity of improvements that are continually 
introduced into our mechanic arte, the improvement in the art 
of penmanship by Mr, Carstairs, ought to be mentioned with 
unqualified approbaJion. By the assistance of his method, any. 
person, however bad his writing will acquire purity, precision, 
#nd celerity, In a very few lessons. We should like to see this 
book introduced into all respectable academies, being assured 
that the principle of writing inculcated' by Mr* Car stairs could 
jiot fail to be beneficial to the rising generation, as well as to 
Jhe majority of adults. We are glad to hear that this new eys* 
tern has been found successlul wherever jl has been tried, Sir. 
Carstairs has evidently bestowed much labour, and exhibited 
gres$ ingenuity in maturing a system which teaches pupils of all 
a<res t &nd both $exes> to write well in one twentieth, part of the Urns 
thvtf usually consume in learning to write ill We recommend our 
readers to examine the work, for we are persuaded they will be 
gmiply gratified, the process of instruction is so peculiarly sim- 
ple, novel, and curious* 

Instead of writing from left to right, the mods constantly pur* 
sued in schools from the commencement to the end of insiruo 
tion, Mr. Carstairs 3 plan is to make the learner begin at the top 
of the page and write in a perpendicular direction down the 
whole length of the pageifrithout lifting the pen, in columns of 
single letters, gradually increasing tbe number of letters from 
left to right until the pupil becomes a proficient in the art 5 which 

'i f ^ ■ 

jnode must counteract the natural tendency which beginners 4 
have of leaning too heavily on the right arm, 

Mr. Carstairs' method of holding the hand and pen, %s Btmltj 
a dmderatum m the art, and will tend to lessen the labour of teach* 
trs in making their pupils hold their hand and pen correctly. From 
our own observations* we feel no hesitation in recommending 
this valuable system to the notice of all, especially those who 
are employed in teaching penmanship in our" scholastic estab- 

From the Imperial Magazine* 

The art of penmanship has, without doubt, been much neg- 
lected in modern times. - Some few individuals can plead atf 
exemption from this general charge; but so mechanical is their 
employment, that it is rarely to such characters that science is; 
indebted for its improvements, otf invention for the enlargement 
of its empire ; and even among those few that may be said to 
excel in the formation and combination of letters, scarcely one 
is to be found, the productions of whose pen can be said to ri- , 
* al the manuscripts which have been transmitted from distant 
centuries. To the decline of this 1 pri&tine beauty, the invention 
Of printing has no doubt much contributed, most voluminous 
compositions being handed to posterity through the medium of 
the press. This, however, can furnish no just reason why air 
art that can never cease to be valuable, should be suffered to de- 
generate \ nor be urged as an argument, when its declining 
state is discovered, why every method that promises to lead t<r 
its primitive perfection should not be duly encouraged. 

Among those who are most deficient in the art of penman- 
ship, nearly the whole tribe of authors have the dishonour of oc- 
cupying the foremost rank* With writing in itseif perfectly 
legible, their interlineations and amendments would render their' 
copies sufficiently perplexing ; bu^when this complication is 
embodied in- characters which scarcely bear any resemblance 
to the letters which they were designed to imitate, clouds thick- 
as doomsday hang upon their pages. It is from manuscripts; 
suefras these; that the compositor has to set up his typ^ and 
from the illegible state of his copy, he is left t from his own 
judgment, to guess the meaning of what he cannot read/ 
Through this cause, errors frequently find their way into the', and not being discovered until the mbkm is pass^ 
edi the volume is graced with a catalogue of etrata, generally 


presumed to proceed from the printer^ carelessness or bluli* 
dern, when in reality it originates in the bad writing of the au- 
thor, whose infallibility is too sacred to be brought into contact 
- with reproach or blame. 

The obvious tendency of Mr. Carstairs' work is to point out 
the inconveniences of had writing, and the advantages of that 
which is good* On these topics he expatiates at large, without 
neglecting to show how the former may be avoided or remedied, 
and I he latter acquired and preserved. On each of these points 
his observations are plain and judicious, carrying with them in- 
disputable evidence of their bwn propriety ; and if adopted with 
resolution^ and pursued toith perscverance t there can be little doubt 
that the gFand result at which he aim??, will be attained* 

Throughout this volume^ plates are distributed, delineating 
either the letters in their proper forms, their elementary princi- 
ples, or their combinations. These are designed to illustrate 
the theory which his pages contain, and it can scarcely be 
questioned, that the pupil will find them beneficial The edi- 
tions through which this work has already passed, prove that 
it is not a literary abortion, and that it has not w dropped still- 
born from the press*" In its aspect it looks healthful and prom- 
ising. Experiment is the test of utility, and to this the author 
fairly appeals for the decision of its fate* 

fcftftATA. i 

T^age svii, lSth ii ne from the bottom, for "principal" read principle* Page J 
&th line from the top, for u combing" read eowtrining* Page- 60, 11th Hue from the 
bottom, for ** led*' read had* Page 62, 7th line from the lop s for fi be*' read btimg,- 
— s&sne page, 11th line from the top, omit " bei" 


It must be apparent, on the slightest examination 
of the subject that both the above requisites, are in* 
dispensable to make a good penman. If a person be 
deficient in the first, although he may possess the 
most inimitable freedom and ease in the use of the 
pen ? his performance will displease and disgust, from 
its want of just proportion and symmetry of parts. If 
he is wanting in the seconds however correct the form 
of each particular letter, there will be no freedom or 
grace in the general aspect of his writing. 

When a man would speak well, he must first con- 
ceive clearly the idea which he desires to express; 
and if he would write well, he must have distinctly 
painted on his mind the characters which he means 
to put on paper. . 

And to illustrate the second essential of good writ- 
ing by the same analogy, however just and clear a 
man's conceptions may be, if his utterance be slow 
and timid, his discourse will be imperfect and unsatis- 
factory; in like manner if his letters be most nicely 
formed, but combined without ease or gracefulness, 
the writing will never be thought beautiful, or even 
pleasing- ' ■" * , 

With regard to the first of these requisites for good 
Writing, Carstairs, as I am informed, is the first 
of the English teachers of Writing who has simplifi- 
ed the art by reducing all the letters to a few ele- 
mentary strokes. In this country, however, what he 
has done in this respect, has been anticipated by 
Jenkins and others. And there are at present many 
Systems of Writing before the public, in which the 
forms and proportions recommended for the various 



letters are quite in good taste. Were it not invidi- 
ous, it would be easy to mention some in which this 
branch of the art is carried to a very great perfec- 

It is the other part of Mr. Carstairs 1 improve- 
ments, regarding the execution of Writing, which is 
particularly entitled to attention* 

Let any one reflect a moment on the prevailing 
modes of teaching the. art of ^jV riling, and he will at 
once perceive, that the attention of writing masters is 
chiefly devoted to the first of these requisites of a 
good writer, to the great neglect of the second. 
The author has carefully examined all the Systems 
of Writing extant, of any note, and all those with 
which he is acquainted, small and large, from the 
modest set of copy-slips, up to " Dean's Analytical 
Guide," in a handsome quarto, are filled so far as 
they undertake to teach the art, with minute direc- 
tions for the forms and proportions of each letter, 
while the whole subject of execution is despatched in 
a few lines ; yet if either of these requisites be more 
important than the other, it is unquestionably the 
power of executing. 

For a man may have a correct taste and judgment 
in writing, or in any other art, without being skilful in 
the practical exercise of the same art ; and every 
day we may see persons who are very good critics 
in writing, who will candidly confess that they do 
not know how to write with tolerable correctness. 
But the power of executing well, generally presuppo- 
ses a just idea of the thing to be done. For it k 




I IJii [ 

* 3 

natural that the attempt to execute a piece of wn 
ting, should lead the niind to reflect upon that which 
the hand executes, that is, the very forms and pro- 
portions of the letters. So that it is plain that one 
may have a knowledge of the forms of the letters, 
and yet be deficient ira the power, to execute them; 
but on the contrary, one is not likely to have what is 
usually called a common t of ' hurtd-^n. power to exe- 
cute well without coming with it a correct idea of 
the forms of the letters/ 

Execution, then, ought much rather to be the ob» 
*y ject of the, teacher's attention and efforts, than the 
\ mere forms of the letter The growing taste and 
j judgment of each pupil will gradually correct the 
imperfect^ awkward or fail ta& tic forms he may have 
given his letters, but, it is not so easy to acquire a 
masterly command of, hand* by solitary practice^ 
where the foundation was not well laid in the acqui- 
sition of the easiest and most natural movements of 
the hand 'and arm; nor can it be doubted that thi$ 
is tile principal reason why many continue through 
their whole lives to write very badly, notwithstand- 
ing that they have a great deal of writing to doi 

It is precisely here, in the execution, as was be- 
fore intimated^ that the great error exists in the pre- 
valent methods of teaching to write. The following 
are considered desiderata in the art, which the pres- 
ent modes of teaching do' not .supply arid which must 

* It it Abo worthy of remark, that to hen a thorough command of hand in once ac* 
quired, it may be applied with facility to say style* teM or character^ go tbat a per- 
son who has once gained this advantage, may* on the inspection of an Arabic of any 
other foreign manuscript at once iiastete *ltt characters with eas* and $|egaii£e? 


■>■ : . 

be supplied before any claim can be laid to the mer- ; 
it of fine penmanship. 

first* — That the pupil should be able to move the hand 
and arm in all directions, with equal facility* 

Secondly. — That an habitual imvemmt of the hand and 
arm should be acquired, equally applicable to every* 
letter of the alphabet, and producing, by its own ten- 
dency > the same inclination tf the letters, and the same 
distance between them. 

Thirdly, — That the pen should not be taken off in any 
single word, ttnd may be confirmed* if required, from 
one word to another* 

\$ourthly*—Tliat the pressure of the pen on the paper 
■ should be light and easy, to promote uniformity of 

It is confidently believed t because it has been as- 
certained by numberless experiments, that every 
quality of a good penman, which is acquired by the 
methods of teaching now prevalent^ may also be 
learned from the system of Carstairs. But this latter 
system goes farther, and by fully supplying the im- 
portant desiderata just enumerated, does what the 
old methods have not done, and .cannot do. 

The general plan pursued by Mr* Carstairs in 
his own teaching, and recommended by him for uni- 
versal adoption, is as follows : 

L A preds e idea of the correct forms of the let ' 
ters must first be distinctly fixed in the mind, by care- 
ful inspection; by imitation, with chalk, pencil or 
pen, by tracing or otherwise; by forming them in 
Band; by examination with question and answer; or 


finally by two or more of these methods as they may 
be most convenient, till the object is attained, 

IL The other and more essential requisite, the 
power of execution, is to be given to the pupil : 
FirsL By teaching him freely to use the pen in 
j forming any letters by the movement of the arm 
j alone, entirely independent of the motion of the fin- 
j gers. To effect this, the old method, by which the 
! learner was for a long time confined to horizontal 
} lines in joining hand, varied only by a difference of 
size, is abandoned (after the forms of the letters are 
\ once well fixed in the mind,) for a series of exer- 
cises in perpendicular columns, the w hole of each 
I column being executed without lifting the pen. This 
compels the learner to keep the arm light and move- 
able, and gradually leads him from a single easy let- 
ter up to to the longest and most difficult combina- 
tions, extending over a whole line, yet performed 
solely by the movement of the arm. 

But as many persons^ who might at once perceive 
how great an advantage they would gain by the ha- 
bitual use of the whole arm, would be continually 
liable from old habit to use their fingers, it is neces- 
sary to prevent this by tying the fore and middle 
fingers to the thumb in such a manner as to keep 
them in one fixed position. Thus the letters will be 
formed entirely by the movement of the whole arm* 
and the pen carried forward upon the line by the late- 
ral movement of the arm, after the formation of each 

To obviate the evil of making the third and fourth 
fingers a fixed prop, and all the cramped and painful 

►| 7 / / HJ i 1 7 


feeling that results from their being so used, it is 
found expedient to tie them also by a tape, which 
turns them under towards the palm of the hand, and 
is fastened round the wrist, so that the hand slips 
along the paper on the nails of these two fingers. 
This makes the movement of the hand on the paper 
much easier than it is in any other way. 

Secondly. The movement of the fore-arm is next 
taught To effect this, the pupil is permitted to rest 
the arm at the elbow; then the muscles of tl>e fore- 
arm are brought into play* and gradually disciplined 
to the exactness and smoothness of penmanship* by 
exercises in forming oblique and horizontal ovals, 
and afterwards, letters and . words. The capitals* 
may be formed with the greatest accuracy by this 

Thirdly, After the movements of the arm and fore- 
arm are obtained, the movement of the fingers is 
permitted. This is comparatively easy, from the 
great flexibility of the muscles of the fingers, so that 
it is in general only necessary to leave the fingers at 
liberty, and they will be sure to come in aid of the 
hand, whenever their aid is required. The use of 
the fingers is by all means to be taught; but being ac- 
quired by the pupil with much greater ease than that 
of the arm and fore-arm, it is better that the use of 
these should be first taught, and all use of the fingers 
in writing be postponed till the use of the arm be- 
comes in some degree habitual Even when the fin- 
gers are allowed to be used, they are not suffered to 
execute the whole writing. They only form the up- 
ward and- downward strokes of the letters^ while 


the hair lines connecting the letters are formed by 
the lateral movement of the arm or fore-arm. Thus, 
when the fingers are osed, the writing is executed, 
not by a .single, but by a double' or combined move- 
ment of the fingers and arm, or of the fingers, and 

i_ Fourthly. The easiest, and most healthful posture 
of the body should be uniformly kept. Attention 
should also be paid to the position of the paper, and 
the making and holding of the pen. 

Fifthly. It is highly important, that when a pupil 
undertakes to learn the art of Writing, he should de- 
vote himself to it assiduously as a principal object, 
till he has acquired it Six hours every day are the 
least that should be occupied in practice, and twelve 
so spent, would give more than a double improve- 

Sixthly, Injustice to the community, another thing 
should be added, which some teachers have over- 
looked in a too great eagerness to make money; 
the number of scholars should never be so large that 
the instructor cannot pay close and particular atten- 
tion to each. 

ck in 
y be 

dl to 
3, is 


i not 
s, in 
m a 

Section IE. 




The first quill in the wing is small, hard, thick in 
the barrel, and of little value. Jt may easily be 
known by the featiher; one side of which le very 
narrow, am! of uniform width, from the barrel to 
the tip, The second is esteemed the best in the 
wing; is of good ^zo; makes the finest and most 
durable point; and, if properly mm hi fit lured, is 
very elastic* The narrow side of the feather, 
about one third from the top, suddenly d&kts in, near- 
ly to the width of that of the first. The third is hard- 
ly to bo distinguished from the second, in any res- 
pect. The fourth is larger } somewhat softer* and 
more elastic than the second and third ; but does not 
hold its point so well. The whole narrow side of the 
feather is a little wider than that of the second and 
third, and is not indented at all. The second, third 
and fourth are usually put, by the manufacturers, in 
the same bunch and are called first quality ; all the 
other quills in the wing, except, perhaps, the fifth, 
are thin and weak, and fit for nothing but to form a 
feeble, timid hand, 



''■ j i 


Report of the Albany Institute, - - IX 
Introduction, " 


Section I. — Definition— essentials to skill in 
the practice of the art-Execution ; de- 
siderata in this-^Carstairs' method oi 
teaching— Writing should be executed 
by the combined movements of the arm, 
hand, and fingers, - ' ^ 

Section II.-€hoice of quills— Penmaking. 

—Use of the different pens, - - " « 

SectionHL-Position of the body, hand, and 
pen— Tying the fingers, - - - 

Section IV.— On the mechanical movements 

ft necessary in writing; their combinations £ 
and application, - 

Section V—Forms and proportions of the ^ 

letters, - 
Section VL-Objections to the common me- 
thod of practising in horizontal Iroes- 
Evils resulting from this method-Intro- 
ductory lessons in running hand— Exer- 
cises for the easy attainment of the move- 
ments of the arm, fore-arm, and fingers- 
Explanation of the plates, &c, 

i'2 P^u^ricJ^L tEiJaiASrsiiip. 


Plate 2, 

It is impossible, even for the most s^kilful to make 
a good pen, without a good knife ; which ought to 
be kept exclusively for that use. The blade ^hould 
be narrow, that it may enter the quill with r^ie more 
ease, and the left side, as held when cutting, a little 
round or convex. Equally impossible is it to make 
good pens, without much practice. , 

The following directions I have endeavoured to 
make minute and complete; and doubt not, that they 
will enable any person, with proper attention and 
practice, to make a good pen. But the skill will be 
much sooner acquired, by nicely observing and imi- 
tating an experienced teacher* 

As neatness in little things will form a habit that 
will extend itself to objects of greater importance t 
commence making your pen, by stripping the broad 
side of the feather from the stem, and cutting off three 
or four inches from the top. Then slightly scrape 
the quiil, in the place where the slit is to be made* — 
Hold the barrel firmly between the thumb and fore 
finger of the left hand, with the back of the quill up- 
wards, and the tip of the feather pointing directly in 
front of the body. Cut off half an inch from the end 
of the quill, in a sloping direction (fig. L) Turn the 
quill over, and make a similar cut on the other side; 
which will form two forked points (fig* 2.) Then cut 
away the same side an inch from the end, so as to take 
off about half of the barrel (fig. 3.) Now t urn the 


grooved part downward, and make a slight incision 
in the back notch, between the two forked points 
(fig. 4,) : press the left thumb on the back of the quill? 
about three quarters of an inch from the end t at the 
point where you wish to have the slit stop: place 
the right thumb nail under, and in contact with the 
notch ; throw it smartly up, and the proper slit will 
be produced, (fig, §,) Then, with the grooved part 
still continued under, commence cutting on the right 
side, downwards; for large hand, from a little below 
the top of the slit; and for small. hand, from a little 
above, which will form what is commonly called a 
shoulder: cut away the right side, in a straight line, 
sloping it more and more at every cut, and bringing 
it to a fine point, at the length you intend the slit to 
be, (fig. 6.) Then turn the quill over, and cut the 
left side exactly to correspond with the right; s& as 
to bring both prongs, in equal width, to a point, at 
the slit, (fig. ?•) Place the thumb on the back of the 
point, and press it downwards, to make the slit close 
and firm for nibbing. Then take the quill* between 
the first and second fingers of the left hand; lay the 
point (with the grooved part downwards,} on the left 
thumb nail, and take off, in a slanting direction, from 
about 1- 1 6 of an inch above the nib, on the back of 
the quill, to the point of the nib on the inside, (fig. 8 
and 9.) Then, continuing the nib on the thumb nail, 
place the edge of the knife across it, so as to make 
the knife and the side of the pen next the haft form 
an acute angle,* (fig* 7A,) and cut off a minute por- 

f Many good penjn«& prefer jabfring the pen at right angles 


tion of the point, in a perpendicular direction* The 
right prong of the nib, as held when writing, will be 
a little longer than the other, for the purpose of mak- 
ing the hair stroke. The slit ought to be about a 
quarter of an inch long, for a free running hand; and 
still longer for large hand, in proportion to the size, 
A pen with a long slit will not only write freely and 
with ease, but will give a decided distinction between 
the up and down strokes, 

The mode of holding and using the knife is im- 
portant. It should be confined by the balls of the 
three last fingers, and, by closing and opening the 
hand, be drawn towards the palm. 

To mend a pen, sharpen the point, and nib it anew, 
without making a new slit, as long as the old one is 
of sufficient length. 

Those who know how to make a pen, may think the 
foregoing directions needlessly minute ; but it should 
be recollected that they are designed for learners. 
With this view, it has been deemed important to give 
them a precision and particularity necessary for a 
person who never saw a pen, and that will enable 
him, with proper materials and a little practice, 
to make a good one. And it is considered of the 
greater importance, because, without good pens, no 
person can attain to any degree of perfection in the 
art of writing ; and even should a learner become a 
finished writer, with pens made by his teacher^ un- 
less he can afterwards supply himself with this es- 
sential implement, properly made, he will inevitably 
and spdedily lose his hand-writing. * 



7. Pen for despatch, before being nibbed, 

7 A, The same pen finished. 

8 A, Pen to copy plate fl. 

9A, Pen for plates 6 and 7. 

10. Pen for writing fine hand. 

1 L Pen for writing a very fine hand, or tracing 
light outlines in designing. 

8 & 9. Operation for thinning the nib ; the oblique 
line shewing the gentle slope which must form this 
cut This operation, which precedes the final nib- 
bing, must also be performed, but with more care, on 
the pens marked 7 A, 10 and 1 L 

Section XXX. 


The position of the body, hand and pen, and the 
various movements, are of great importance in the 
art of Writing, and require the utmost attention,— 
For, if these be not thoroughly acquired, ease, ex- 
pedition, uniformity and elegance can never be at- 

It is of the greatest consequence to be convenient- 
ly seated. However well versed the pupil may be 
in the various movements, these movements will still 
be imperfect, unless the true position of the body be 
preserved : and they will be more easy or more dif- 
ficult, as the body approaches or recedes from that 
position. Since there can be but one true position 
of the body, in every species of oblique Writing, the 
pupil should thoroughly habituate himself to that po- 
sition, and never deviate from it 

No less important is the true position of the hand 
and pen: it requires the strictest and most pointed 
attention. But, as in all obliqu* Writing, there can 
be but one true position of the hand, the pupil should 
render that position habitual* and on no occasion de- 
part from it. 


The following rules must be strictly observed: 

1. Keep the body nearly erect. To bend much 
forward is not only ungraceful, but very pernicious 
to health. This cannot be too much insisted on by 
parents and teachers of penmanship* I have been 
informed by medical gentlemen* that many pulmona- 
ry affections have their origin in the position which 
young persons adopt when engaged in writing. The 
head is thrown forward, and the chest contracted : 
and when this becomes habitual, the most serious 

results ensue. 

2. Do not rest the body on the right arm, but sup- 
port it on the left, extended on the desk four or five 
inches from the edge, across the body, with the hand 
on the paper : extend the right arm forward, paral- 
lel with the sides of the paper, about four inches 
from the body, and at full liberty, so as to move in 
any direction, at pleasure ; the hand gliding lightly 
over the paper, on the nails of the third and fourth 
fingers, as on a moveahk rest Keep the under fin- 
gers firm, and let them sensibly feel the paper; so as 
always to afford the hand a steady support. 

3. Place the paper directly in front of the right 
arm, and parallel with the edge of the desk. 

■4. Bring the left side of the body near the desk, 
and place the feet obliquely, so that they will be in 
the same .direction with the slant of the writing. 

The above position gives the body a firm attitude, 
afFoods the right arm an easy play- and a Slows it to 
move with entire liberty, 



In general? persons who have learned by the old 
system, sit in front of the desk, keeping the right and 
left sides of the body equally distant from it Hence 
they lean too heavily on the right am; which ren- 
ders it impossible for the hand to glide freely over 
the paper ; because the hand and pen are forced to 
act in a direction contrary to the slope of the Writ- 
ing. On the contrary, if the left side of the ?body 
approach the table, as has been recommended, the 
pupil w ill sit in an easy, convenient posture, and be 
able to write with the greatest possible expedition, 
Besides, by leaning on the left arm, all the move- 
ments will acquire greater precision* 




A, B, C and B, represent the paper. 
The lines 3 and 4 represent the position of the left 



The lines 1 and 2 the position of the right arm, 
- 3, The elbow, and 4, the extremity of the left hand* 
. 1, The elbow, and 2, the extremity of the right 

5 And 6, the edge of the table* 

The line 0 represents the oblique position of the 
fore-arm, when the pen, by the second movement, 
has reached the end of a long word, or of several small 

1 And 2 represent the first movement; L e, the 
movement of the whole arm. 

8, The extremity of the right hand, the nib of the 
pen, and the lines for writing. 

The elbow placed at 1, glides along the table from 
1 to I', from V to V\ from t* to l M V and so on con- 
tinually to the end of the line* The hand, by a simi- 
lar, though, tiot simultaneous movement, must glide 
from 2 to %. from 2' to 2" from 2" to 2 W . 


" v . Platys 3 and 4* 

The hand and pen ought to preserve the same 
elevation, and the same position, at the beginning, 
middle, and end of the same word, and the same line. 
But among those who have learned by the old meth- 
od, hardly one in ten, in free writing, retain the same 
position of the hand and pen in different parts of a 
single word ; and without this, the writing cannot be 
regular or uniform* This variation in the position of 
the hand, is the inevitable result of the old practice 

of using the little fioger as a fixed prop instead of a 
moveable support, and forming the letters by the move- 
ment of the two first fingers, without following them by a 
corresponding, uninterrupted movement of the under 
fingers. Hence, the hand and pen perform a suc- 
cession of irregular curves and jerks, and in their 
progressive motion, .gradually turn over towards the 
right Thus being continually used at varying an- 
gles of inclination, the pen gives irregular characters 
to the letters, and the writing appears unequal in 
style, and deviates from a right line. The pen should 
be held lamely between the thumb and first and se- 
cond fingers, nearly an inch from the point ; the thumb 
placed about three quarters of an inch higher than 

the end of the middle finger, and bent outwards, 

The third and fourth fingers inclined inwards toward 
the palm of the hand, about an inch distant from the 
end of the second finger. Tfte wrist* ought always to 
he raised nearly an inch from the paper; the hand sup- 
ported on the ends of the nails of the third and fourth 
fingers* the top of the pen pointing exactly to the 
right shoulder. The right arm should rest lightly on 
the table, near the elbow, and be kept three ofc four- 
inches from the body. \ 

The teacher, as well as the learner, must bp ex- 
tremely careful about the elevation of the wrist be- 
cause almost every advancement in the art of fwrit- 
ing will greatly depend on having the wrist at af pro- 

* " Since I have written my farmer observations on the position of the hand and 
lioldiag of thfl lien*" saya Carstairs, <( I have found it m&s& convenient to keep the 
wmt lying flat with the table or desk, and to move an the surface of the nsiU *t 
the thitd and fourth, fingers; this will assist the movement, more than by leaning oa 
the end of the fingers, from the smoothnets of the nails. Thia position af the hand, 
may be used or not* according to fancy or inclination. I notr\ however* always 
bach it to my pupita* a« it gires & woBdcTfnl ftteadmess to the hand and aria- -*C8ee 
plates dirndl) 



per height And a habit of running on the nails will 
be sooner acquired by a strict adherence to this 

The above, is the only position of the hand and 
pen that ought to be- taught: 

L Because all other elevations of the hand and 
arm are uncertain and unsteady* 

2. If the position of the hand be varied, in writ* 
ing, the nib of the pen must evidently change its po- 
sition, and the letters cannot have either uniformity 5 

or the same slant 

3. If a certain position be not acquired by the pu- 
pil in the beginning, it frequently happens that, when 
he commences writing fast, his hand leans to the 
right, comes in contact with the paper, and, the pen 
is thrown so much ovefr as to make it impossible to 
write otherwise than with the side of the nib. 

4. Inattention to the true position of the hand and 
pen retards the progress of the pupil and gives him 
bad habits in writing, which are frequently retained 
through life. 

JK If the slit of the pen be not kept even in making 
the down strokes, they cannot have a uniformity in 

The arm ought to rest lightly on the table j and the 
pen should not be pressed heavily on the paper; 
that it may not be forced to form the down and up 
strokes stronger than it will naturally form them with- 
out any pressure. The same method (that of keying 
the pen light,) must be pursued in large hand. If the 
pen does not make the down strokes bold enough, it 
is the fault of the pen, and not of the writer. 


WJB & 1PM W. 

Ft. 3 

I'ty. 3. 



















Plates 3 and 4* 

Make the loops A, B, (fig- 1.) holding the parts E, 
' F, G, H, between the thumb and forefinger of the 
left hand. Then place the strand A under the strand 
B 9 which will form the loop I, (fig. 2.) Place the 
| loop I over the scholars third and fourth fingers; 
turn the parts E, F, G, H, on the inside, so as to bring 
the opposite parts of the loop exactly between the 
nails and the first joints: then draw the strands C, 
D, in opposite di recti ons^ as they will slip most free- * 
1y ; carry D round to the palm of the pupils hand, 
and C between the fingers, passing it over the 
loop on the back side, and draw it between them 
below, bringing it into the palm of the hand with 
(fig. 3,) which shews the knot finished, supposing A ■ 
and B to represent the two fingers inserted in the 

Take the ends C, and make a cross knot (fig, 
3, K,) at the wrist, and an inch a half from the ex- 
tremity of the tied fingers (fig, 4*) : then carry the 
ends round the wrist, and tie them in a bow-knot at 
A(fig.6.) • 

The tying of the thumb and two first fingers pre^ 
sents no difficulty. (See fig. 5 and 6.) 

Section TW 



There are three distinct movements, and one cor- 
rect position of the hand arid pen; and if these are 
not properly taught and acquired, no system of writ- 
ing can be completely successful. 

To these the pupil must pay the greatest atten- 
tion; because here, throughout the whole course of 
instruction, lies the secret of elegance and despatch:— 
the great object to be attained* 


The first and greatest movement is that of the whole arm. 

The second movement is that of the hand and fore-arm. 

The third and least movement is that of the fingers. 

These three movements are so indispensable, that 
if the particular use of each be not understood, or if 
they be co-founded in practice, almost invincible 
difficulties will be experienced. 

Equally important is' it to understand their combi- 
nation; and therefore, when the learner has thoroughly 

t - *- — — — 4* ~ — — " 

* On the application and combination of the movements of the arm, hand aud fin- 
gers, Mr CwsUirs has given m»re extensive information than any previoiLS writer, 
lie hae distinguished sijc varieties, which w*rc uerer explained before in any sa- 
tisfactory jnauner ^ and, even those wbieh have been known? have not been properly 


acquired each movement separately he ought to be 
taught the combination of the movements of the arm 
and lingers, and of the fore-arm, hand and fingers* 

When the movement of the whole arm is in a per- 
pendicular direction, it is designed to accustom the 
pupil to preserve the correct position of the hand 
and pen, and to move his arm lightly on the table, — 
When used laterally, it gives great experttiess and 
rapidity of execution. 

The second movement is that of the fore-arm, ..with' 
out a separate movement of ike fingers. This process is 
the simultaneous movement of the hand and fore-arm; 
the muscles of the under part of the arm playing, but 
not sliding, on the table; the nails of the two under 
fingers gliding on the papers the wrist lying flat with J 
the table, not touching it, but elevated nearly an inch. 

Thus, by means of the extending and contracting 
power of the muscles of the arm, without changing its 
place on the tabk^ an astonishingly free, hold and com- 
manding movement is obtained. 

The third movement is so simple as to require no 
particular description. 


The first combination, is the addition of the move- 
ment of the fingers to that of the ivhole arm* It is to be 
observed, that while the wrist is never, either in ihisj 
or in any of the movements or combinations^ to touch the 
table, the arm is never, in any of them* to be raised 
from it It must, however, always move very lig, 

upon the table These directions being observed, 
the fingers cannot be too freely used. 

The mode of using the fingers in this combination, 
is, in all cases, the same as in the second. 

The second combination, is tlw addition of the move- 
ments of the fingers, and of the hand, to that of the fore-arm. 
In this combination, the fore-arm rests on the edge of 
the table, near the elbow. The distinguishing differ- 
ence between this combination and the first, is, that in 
the first, the whole arm moves upon the table, the 
elbow regularly following, and nearly coinciding with 
the movement of the hand; but, in the second, the 
fore-arm, although it moves on the table, remains rito- 

iionary near the elbow. 

In writing by the second movement, or by the se- 
cond combination, the learner must slide his arm 
along the table, at convenient distances, so that hi? 
hand and elbow will always be in a line with the 
place where the word is to be written, At each re- 
move, he will again rest his forearm on the edge of 
the table, near the elbow, and write the next word 
or words, as far as convenient, and so on to the end 
of the line. 

In writing large or fine hand with more than ordi- 
nary care, only the first and second finger and the 
thumb should be used. In this case, the pen may be 
taken off' after each letter, or after two or three let- 
ters, as most convenient. But this liberty is only to 
be allowed when great regularity mid precision in the 
form of the letters is required, 

The third combination, is the union of the first and 
second—not simultaneously, but in succession, Thm* 


io writing the word Baltimore^ the B is formed by the 
first combination, in the manner usually called hi cut- 
ting capitals, 1 ' and, without lifting the pen, the rest 
of the word is written by the second movement, while 
the fingers come into use in forming the letters / and t 
The second movement and its combinations are 
entirely new discoveries of Mr. Carstairs; and consti- 
tute the distinguishing features of bis system. It is not 
pretended that they were never before practised — 
An expert penman might sometimes be seen -who- did 
use them, but this was rare: and when it occurred, 
his manner of execution was not perceived. Even 
the writers themselves were ignorant of the nature of 
those powers which gave them their superiority over 
others. Like athletic men, they were conscious of 
their own strength; but, as it is the eye of theanafo- 
mist that discerns the admirable philosophy of their 
frame, so the acute observation of Caretairs discover- 
ed, and brought into systematic use, the peculiar move- 
ments which he saw produce such distinguished exe- 
cution. His reflection convinced him of the evils of 
the old system; his experience soon satisfied him 
that the true remedy was to be found in these bold 

The following advantages were the result The 
practice, in the old system, of frequently lifting the 
pen, which is utterly incompatible with bold and 
masterly writing, is avoided. Strength and steadi- 
ness of hand are acquired* The great fault of turn- 
ing the baud over to the right, and jerking it from 
point to point, to keep pace with the progress of the 
writing, which may be considered as a concentration 


of all the vices of the old system* i£ entirely eradica- 
ted; and in place of it, freedom* uniformity, grace, 
boldness and rapidity are obtained. The arm moves 
along insensibly, and without effort, by the very act 
of forming the letters. The hand is never fatigued. 
When the fingers are used, they act with much great- 
er scope* steadiness and precision. The facility of 
movement acquired, greatly assists to give grace to 
the capital letters* 

It is with some difficulty that learners can be 
brought to acquire these combined movements; and 
after they have practised them, in the exercises, they 
are frequently negligent in using them in writing.— r 
Not because of any difficulty in the nature of the 
thing itself; but because' resolute, persevering ap- 
plication is so rare* and because teachers so fre- 
quently hold out the idea, that any person may be 
taught to write well in a short 'time* and without 
much application! 

Teachers cannot too strongly insist on this matter. 
The learner must, in the outset, adopt the true posi- 
tion of the bod^ Imnd and pen, and the proper move- 
ments ; and rigidly adhere to them, on all occasions, 
not only in the practice of the exercises, but in ordi- 
nary business. Although, from the influence of bad 
habits, they may be inconvenient at first j yet ? if 
strictly and uniformly persevered its, they will speedi- 
ly lose alt their difficulty, and the sooner become ha- 
bitual. Indeed, this will otherwise never be eflfectn- 
ly accomplished. The matter is reduced to this 
simple alternative: — a rigid adherence to these re- 
quisites, or a failure of becoming a finished writer 



Lesson I, - - - - - J ' 71 

" I, v " " - - 73 

* III, ----- 75 

" IV, 1 - * . 77 

" V, ? - V - ' - 82 

:« VI, , ■ . . u 83 

Specimen plate, - * - ^ 86 

Section VIL-— Supplementary exercises, - 87 

Section VIIL— General directions and obser- 
vations, - - .- - - ~ go 


Circular addressed to the Rectors of the 

French academies* - ■■ . - - 101 

Report of the Commissioners of the Royal 

University, - ■■ - - - - - 102 

Report of the Society for Elementary Instruc- 
tion, - - ■ - - - - - 104 

Letter to the Duke of Kent, - - - 107 

Resolutions passed at a meeting held in 

London, , - - - - - - 108 

Extracts from Foreign Reviews. - - , log 



To examine the System of Writing invented by 


It may be proper to state that in addition to 
the other testimonials which are produced in 
favour of this system, the following is worthy 
of a careful perusal The Albany institute is 
one of the most scientific bodies in the United 
States. Many of its members have appeared 
before the public as authors and are known m 
the patrons of literature and the fine arts. A 
favourable report from such a source is, there- 
fore, highly flattering and deserving of the 
most attentive consideration. 

A committee consisting of Dr.Lewis C. Beck, 
S. De Witt Bloodgood, Esq., and Dr. Philip 
Ten Eyck, was appointed to examine the sys- 
tem of Carstairs. Mr. Bloodgood, in behalf 


On the other hand, when these movements am 
once welt acquired, which b only the fruit of much 
practice upon the prescribed exercises, they will 
never be lost The ease to the writer which they 
produce, to say nothing of the numerous other advan- 
tages, will itself insure a continuance of the use of 
them ever after, without any deviation. The effects 
of always doing the same thing in the same way, may 
easily be conceived. They are witnessed in all the 
mechanic arts ; indeed, in all the departments of life. 
This is the great principle of the division of labour; the 
means by which such astonishing results in every 
thing are produced* And* although great persever- 
ance is necessary to acquire these movements effec- 
tually, yet there are powerful encouragements to ef- 
fort and patience* For success is certain, and the 
pupil sees it: and, besides, there is almost a bewitch- 
ing allurement in practising the exercises, growing 
out of his plain perception, that at every step* he is 
accomplishing great things, in the acquirement of 
power, in eradicating vicious habits, and in making 
steady, certain and permanent advances in becoming 
an elegant and expert penman. 





The movements are thus distinguished : 

la the movement of the 
whole arm in all directions 

ifor #tis MwemenL 

All exercises in perpen- 
dicular columns, when sin- 
gle letters are connected by 
jneana of tee loop Plates 
8,9, 10 and U. 

1$ the oblique movement 
of the hand and foie-aYm t 
while the arm rests lightly 
near the elbow*. 

la the moire jneitt of th# 
thumb and fingers alone. 

For this Movement- " 

The oblique and hori- 
zontal ovals and plates IS 
and 13* 


For this Movement, 

AH common siae large 
hand } formal small hand, 
and all studied writing, 
where great exactness is 
required in the forms of 
I the letters. Plates ^ and 7* 


The UL & 2d* Movements. 


— 5 • 

2m?. and 


The whole of the Move* 

For tfiis Combination. 

This may be emplo^ ! 
in all sizes of writing but 
more particularly* P 1 "^ 
tising. Plate* Iy * *"* 
21,23 and 23/ 


This combination may- 
be used in all sixes of writ- 
ing not exceeding two in- 
dies in height, free miming 
ha iifl, and all quick writ- 
ing Plates 6 and 7- 

For this Combination* 

This combination is ap- 
plicable to all the sizes 
whifih have a curved or 
straight line leading from 
one word to another* 
PMes 14,15, 16 and 17. 


The capital letters may be made by any of the 
movements, combined or separately* as the teacher 
or learner may think proper. 


Section V* 


Agreeably to the plan recommended in the fore-^ 
going pages, the first object in teaching the art '.of 
writing, is to impress distictly on the mind of the 
pupil a just idea of the best forms and proportions 
of the letters. There are various means by which 
this object may be speedily and effectually accom- 
plished. Almost every child, lorig before he is 
brought to a desk, in order to be taught to write, 
will be found amusing himself with making pictures, 
ar, m^re properly, scrawling figures with such ma- 
terials \ s he can lay hands on. This natural incli- 
nation reipiV^s on jy t p t> e p roper iy directed, and 
the shapeless fibres may be made to assume pro- 
portion and symmetry Let the pupil continue to 
use the slate and penc^r paper and gj pend]? 
which he has been accustom^ resort t/ior child, 
ish diversion. Or, if more convfc^ as it g cer . 
tainly less expensive than the latter, W him be pro. 
vided with a black board and chalk. \ 

It may naturally be asked, since penro^hip is to 
be taught, why not give the pupil a pen from the 
first? The answer is ready,— that it is desirable for 
a child to have its whole attention confined to a sin- 
gle object at a time. If we give a pen to the young 
pupil at his first lesson, his attention is alternately 


occupied by two objects, each of which is ne\* 
consequently difficult to him, — the manner of 
ing fib pen, and the form of the letters, Th< 
traction of mind which follows this constrained i 
ten lion to two things at once, is apt to prod ur 
ill effect that neither is learned well or easily ; 
this is entirely prevented by simply teaching 
thing at a lime* 

First, therefore, let the pupil learn the forms 
the letters, by using any of the materials memi 
above, and afterwards when these are perfect 
miliar, let him take a pen, and he will then ha* 
thing to do hoe to learn the use of that new in 
ment. These observations, it will at onee be 
ceived, apply only to beginners. Those who 
been accustomed to the use of die pen, may 
propriety continue the use of it in improving 
forms of their letters. The manner of holding it 
will find described in a preceding page, The r. 
being provided with convenient materials, must 
have copies placed before bim similar to the 
line of Plate 5. 

The characters in the first line comprise the c 
mom top and bottom turns. From them, SJ W 
combined, a majority of the letters of the aip^ 
may be formed. Indeed they contain the most 
Portant elements of English hand writW T 
must, therefore, be practised with the copies bef 

J/? \Hen th,s is done, the pupil most 
ught to do ^ ^ , wri £ in/e acn j 
several characters in the plate on hefrin, & 



occupied by too objects, each of which is new, and 
consequently difficult to him, — the manner of hold- 
ing hi$ pen, and the form of the letters. The dis- 
traction of piind which follows this constrained atten- 
tention to two things at once, is apt to produce the 
ill effect that neither is learned well or easily ; and 
this is entirely preyented by simply teaching one, 
thing at a time. 

' First, therefore, let the pupil learn the forms of all 
the letters, by using any of the materials mentioned 
above, and afterwards when these are perfectly fa- 
miliar, let him take a pen, and he will then have no- 
thing to do but to learn the use of that new instru- 
ment These observations, it will at once be per- 
ceived, apply only to beginners. Those who have, 
been accustomed to the use of the pen, may with 
propriety continue the use of it in improving the 
forms of their letters* The manner of holding it they 
will find described in a preceding page. The pupil 
being provided with convenient materials, must next; 
have copies placed before him similar to the first! 
line of Plate 5. 

The characters in the first line comprise the com- 
mom top and bottom turns. From them, singly or 
combined, a majority of the letters of the alphabet, 
may be formed. Indeed they contain the most im- 
portant elements of English hand writing. They 
must, therefore, be practised with the copies before 
the eyes of the learner, till they become perfectly 
familiar. When this is done, the pupil must be 
taught to do withaut copies, by writing each of the 
several characters in the plate on hearing its nunv 


ber given out by the teacher- He may next be per- 
mitted to join the characters together to form the 
letters of the alphabet* Thus, on joining the charac- 
ters numbered I and 2, the pupil will have learned 
to form the letter a ; 3, 3 and 4, form m ; 3 and 4 S 
form n ; 2 and 2, form u ; 1 and 2, taken singly, form 
o and i ; I and 2, the latter be^made twice the 
height of the former, form d; and soon. After these 
first lessons have been practised for a sufficient time, 
at the discretion of the teacher, the pupil may be 
permitted to join the letters into words, such as 
Wiiofh uncommon* or any other w ord not going beyood 
the limits of the characters contained in Plate 5, 
As to the size of the writing, it is strongly urged that 
the letters be made very large at first ; the height of 
four inches, if the pupil be twelve or fifteen years of 
age ; and of one or two inches, if only five or six years. 
jAs this length can only be reached by moving the 
frrm, the smallest children will find no greater diffi- 
culty than grown persons in making the characters* 
The advantage of making the letters of so large a 
size is two fold. It serves to fix in the mind a just 
idea of the exact proportions of the several parts of 
the letters, at the same time the pupil is insensibly 
obliged to move his arm up and down in forming the 
letters, as it will be impossible, from their great 
length, that he should make them by resting the 
hand and arm, and moving the fingers alone. Thus 
the arm is gradually habituated to a steady and con* 
tinned movement, which is perhaps the greatest ac- 
complishment of a penman. 


When the pupil has acquired sufficient familiarity 
with the simplest elements of writing, as contained 
in Plate 5, he may then pass to the characters in 
Plate 6 ; which, properly combined, form the whole 
of the alphabet * They are given on a smaller scale 
than the former, but should be written at first from 
two to three inches in height; and afterwards, at 
the teacher's discretion, may be gradually reduced 
in size, till they are of the same dimensions with 
those in this plate. As soon as the characters can 
all be well formed separately, they must be combin- 
ed to form such letters as consist of more than a sin- 
gle character. When the pupil has, by sufficient 

^ ^ 

practice, with the copy before him, become quite 
familiar with the characters in the plate, he may be 
advantageously exercised in writing them all on 
hearing thgir several numbers called by the teacher. 
"This will be found to make him better acquainted 
with the true proportions of the letters than by the 
adoption of any other mode, 

'"The elegance of writing depends, much upon 
the natural and easy slope of the letters^ and the 
beauty and uniformity of the turns, both at top and 
bottom, as well as on the proper distance of the let- 
ters from each other- Children, when first begin- 
ning to write, are very .apt to set their letters too up- 
right This practice habituates them to an unnatu- 
ral and awkward motion of the fingers, and conse- 
quently prevents them from making handsome oval 

* The teacher should render flies e principles /GwiftaJ* by oral iflstructicm, and 
practical exemplifications. 



turns; and whilte this habit continues; it will be 
impossible to write an easy and eWant hand 

To remedy the forementioned inconvenience 
of contracting an aw kward habit of forming' the let- 
ters, and enable children to give a proper islant to the 
letters, and acquire a natural motion of the fingers, I 
have made use of parallel or slanting lines to great 
advantage. By the help of these lines the mind is 
wholly at liberty, and the pupil can attend to 
a careful movement of the pen, which is absolutely 
necessary, in order to form a proper oval turn, 
either at the top or bottom of his letters. 

By invariably practising on these lines at first, the 
learner, by the strong force of habit, will, of necessi- 
ty, much sootier acquire a natural and easy motion of 

the pen, as well as the proper slope of the letters. 

In sculpture, painting, &c, learners have been much 
assisted by the help of certain points, characters and ? 
rules. But the art of writing has been exceeding- 
ly deficient in this particular; and children have 
been put to forming letters, and to writing join- 
ing hand, before they have acquired distinct ideas of 
the component parts of which letters are formed, and 
before they have been instructed in the mechanical 
use and slow movement of the pen, when gradually 
pressing or rising to form the oval turns at the top 
and bottom. It is almost, if not quite impossible, 
merely by verbal injunctions, to prevent children 
from a hasty and rapid motion of the pen, especially 
at the turns of the letters, where it should be mov- 
ed very slowly; that the mind 'may have time 
to perceive the gradual rise of the pen from a full to 



a fine stroke — as well as the pressure of the pen froto 
a fine to a full stroke. 

This hasty movement of the pen, which is certain- 
ly a very great obstacle to improvement* is, doubts 
less, owing to the uneasiness and pain which arise ia 
the mind of the pupil, while held in suspense. The 
pupil, being naturally desirous to imitate his copy* 
but having no rule to direct him, is necessitated to 
follow the dictates of his own mind, whether right or 

wrong, » 

Thus, for want of a knowledge of the first princi- 
ples of writing, as well as a want of proper rules to 
guide the mind, this hasty motion of the pen, and the 
wrong motion of the fingers, daily become more and 
more habitual, the bad effects of which the greater 
part feel through life*, 

It may not be amiss to mention the most es- 
sential faults to which children are subject in draw- 
ing the leading strokes, that they may be more effec- 
tually guarded against them. 

' L Instead of pressing the pen sufficiently hard at 
the beginning of every letter which ought to be 
square and full at the top, they are very apt to do 
the contrary, viz ; to strike the pen light, and conse- 
quently to leave the top sharp. 

2, They are likewise very apt to press hardest up- 
on the pen where it should rise, viz : at the bottom 
turn of all the letters. 

3. They are likewise very apt, in drawing the bo- 
dy of the J, as well as all the down strokes, and in car- 
rying up all the hair strokes, to move the pen much 
quicker than it ought to be moved by a learner. 


4. More especially are they apt to move the pen 
the quickest where it should be carried as slowly as 
it possibly can be moved, viz; at the bottom turn of 
all the letters; as there is a twofold motion of the pen 
required in this turn, viz i the pen must gradually rise 
from a full to a fine hair stroke, and at the same time 
move to the right in a circular direction. At the top 
turn they are apt, not bnljr to move the pets much too 
quick, but also to come to a full pressure at once* 
before the ttlrn is completed/* 

The exact proportions which some iiiinute parts 
of letters should bear to the rest, has.been a subject \ 
of great, and, it is conceived, unprofitable dispute, \ 

It is sufficient, for all practical purposes, to 
consider the height of an o to be twice its width, 
and the width of an o to be a good measure of the 
distance between any two principal strokes of the 
same letter ; as, for instance, between the two prin- 
cipal strokes of the n or the a. The other propor- 
tions of the letters may most easily be learned by an 
examination of the plates, 

It will be found that the proportions of the letters 
will be fixed, with greater exactness, by the use of 
five parallel horizontal lines, dividing the height of an 
o into four equal parts. Thus the swell of the o will 
be seen to fall on the fourth line; but without the 
use of these parallels, its place would not be at once 
perceived with precision. 

From the nature of the case, the proportions that 
should exist between the minute parts of every let* 
ter can never be fixed with mathematical certainty. 
These proportions have their origin in the taste tif 


individuals, which is perpetually subject to varia- 
tion. The forms which one generation admire seem | 
antiquated in the eyes of the next, and barbarous to 
a third. AH that can be done in this particular, is 
carefully to use the most improved models, and 
where these differ among themselves, each indivi- 
dual must call his own good taste into exercise, to 
judge between them. It is not pretended that the 
forms and proportions adopted in the present work, 
are perfect, but it is believed that they will be found, 
in general, to accord with the principles of a correct 

Section VI, 




In the acquisition of a current hand, the pupil has 
hitherto been taught to write in horizontal lines. It 
is not pretended that this practice should be aban- 
doned when the hand-writing i 8 perfected, nor even 
long before, but experience proves, that this mode of 
instruction is productive- of many evils. One obvi- 
ous defect resulting from it is, that it leads to an in- 
correct position of the hand and pen. The learner, 
by the old method, is taught to form the letters with 
the fingers and thumb-without a simultaneous move- 
ment of the arm or fore-arm— resting on the under 
fingers as a fixed prop. Whilst this is done, although 
he may be directed to keep the pen pointing to the 
right shoulder, how is it possible this position should 
be retained, when, by the very first movement, it 
takes another direction ? This variation will neces- 
sarily be more or less, in proportion to the distance 
the pen is moved on the paper: because the under 
fingers remain fixed, and consequently the hand in- 
clines continually to turn over to the right, in order 
to allow for the action of the pen upon the paper— 


To avoid this evil, the pupil is sometimes taught to 
raise the pen at every half letter. This has a ten- 
dency to make the writing uneven and crooked, and 
the letters cannot be equally slanted, in consequence 
of the varying radius from the point where the under 
fingers rest to the point of the pen. 

To enable the pupil to keep the hand X .one and 
the same position, and to acquire a habit of holdmg 
the pen correctly, be should be taught to write in per- 
pendicular columns, from the top to the bottom of the 
page, without once lifting the pen. By this process 
the hand will be uniformly kept in one and the same 
position, and the pupil will acquire a habit of hold- 
ing the pen correctly, which is seldom, ever at- 
tained, by any other plan hitherto devised. Let the 
method here recommended be attempted in good 
foith— be strictly persevered in, and the result will 
be perfectly satisfactory. When the true position of 
the hand and pen is in some degree acquired, the pu- 
pil may begin to write in horizmtal lines ; but he must 
not persist in this practice, until his hand is cot^rmed 
in the correct position. 

To produce that freedom and command of hand 
so indispensably necessary to free writing, it is found 
expedient at first to tie the fingers. 1 tie a piece of 
tape about eight inches long, round the first and se- 
cond fingers, and the first joint of the thumb, with the 
pen held betwixt them; the pupil, inconsequence, 
is compelled to move his arm to form the letters.— 
The third and fourth fingers are tied also, that they 
may be kept in their proper position : this is done be- 
taking a piece of tape, and tying the middle of it be- 


of the committee, prepared the report, and 
at a subsequent meeting of the Institute it was 
read and unanimously adopted. It should pro- 
perly be inserted in the transactions of that so- 
ciety, but it has been kindly transferred to the 
pages of this work The author tenders his 
thanks to the Institute for their kindness in 
permitting him to make me of it on this ocear 
sion. f 

Albany fasTrTUTBrFebruary *&3Q. 
The committee, to whom was referred the eystein of Penmanship as taught by 
Mr. FosfEJV, on thB principle of Caistaiis, beg leave respectfully to reporty ft« 
fallows ; 

However common-place the assertion may be, and however 
familiarity with the fact, may lessen the sense of its importance 
the art of writing has been one of the most useful, that ever 
ministered to the wsnfs or happfeess of mankind. It was the 
first by which the boundaries of human science were enlarged* 
for language could only preserve within the narrow limits of 
its immediate application, the facts and the ideas which human 
reason pronounced worthy of remembrance, and then only du- 
ring the occasion which called forth its exercise* 

The art of printing, has^it is true, diminished the advantages 
of a written character, substituting in its place its more easily 
read pages, and preserving an entire and beautiful uniformity 
in its copies throughout the wide range of its utility. 

¥et still there are and ever must be occasions constantly oc- 
curring when Writing can alone be resorted to, times which 
demand its instant use, and forms of business to which it is 
alone applicable. It must ever hold therefore, a high place 
among those prerogatives of humanity which render life advan- 
tageous to its possessors, and tend to secure to them its enjoy- 
ments and its blessings. 

Many of the ancient heathen writers considered it as a gift 
vouchsafed to man by the gods themselves, and many enlighten- 
ed Christians suppose that it was first revealed to man from 
Sinai^s awful mount, amid the thunders of the law and the testi- 

It may not be amiss to give a brief sketch of the origin and 
progress of writing. The examination of a great many au- 
thorities has led us to notice some of the following opinions 
upon the subject 

By some persons it has been maintained, that the art must, in 
some degree, have beeen familiar to Adam> our great progenitor, 
since he named the created objects about him and must have 
endeavored to perpetuate their names upon the earth. St, Au- 
gustine and Josephus incline to this belief. Two pillars were 
said to h^ve existed in Syria in the time of the last mentioned 



tweenthe naile and the fir&t joints of the third and 
fourth fingers ; then with the two ends of the tape, 
bring the fingers under the hand, and fasten the tape 
round the wrist (See page $2.) 

The third and fourth fingers, serving as a support to 
the hand, must move lightly upon the surface of the 
paper, and let the hand be inclined a little to the 
right, that the pen may be well applied. The elbow 
should be five or six inches from the body. The 
chief intention in tying the upper fingers and thumb* 
is to prevent their too flexible motion when the pupil 
is learning the larger movements. Each movement 
ought to be acquired separately and thoroughly. But 
if the fingers were allowed to move when acquiring 
the movements of the arm and fore-arm, the conse- 
quence would be, that the pupil would seldom attaiiv 
any one of the movements completely ; from the natu- 
ral tendency every one has (particularly those who 
have learnt the old methods of writing,) af using the 
thumb and first and second fingers* 


. Plate 8. 

Begin with the first column in phle 8. Make the 
loops uniform with each other. Observe, that in eve- 
ry part of the process, the arm must move easily on 
the nails of the third and fourth fingers. The pen 
must not be taken off from beginning to end, ^ Both 
the up and down strokes must be made fine in this 
column. The next thing to be attended to, in order 
to gain the right command of the pen, is to have the 
free motion of the arm; taking special care, at the 
same time, to sit in the right posture. When a free 
and easy movement is in some measure acquired, m 
the practice of the characters in the form of the long 
proceed to the column of m's* In this column, as 
in the former, the pen must not be taken off until fin- 
ished; and each succeeding m must be continued by 
means of the loops* In the column of h\ it will be 
observed, that they loop each other without recourse 
to an additional loop. The whole arm must move in 
a back direction, by the flexible movements of the 
elbow and shoulder joints. A greater number of each 
letter may be continued in each column than is giv- 
en in the plate ; the more the better, as it will con- 
duce to still greater freedom- 
Three are given in the next column, for the 
practice of the pupil The loop is rather different, 
but will join with equal ease, Proceed with the fs 
and in the same manner as in the other columns. 
The pupil ought to practise from twenty to n hundred 


Plate 9. 

This lesson consists of the long letters. They will 
general! v be found rather difficult at 'first; but a lit 
tie practice with proper attention to toe motwwm, will 
render them uncommonly easy. Before the karner 
commences this lesson, he ought to be thoroughly master of 
the former. The same must be observed in eveiy 
succeeding lesson. Every letter must be accurately 
imitated, as in the Plate* Inattention, in this particu- 
lar* might give the learner a careless habit in form- 
ing his letters in his general writing. Each column 
of this plate must also be written without lifting the 
yen from the paper 

Clear and open loops are indispensably necessa- 
ry, on two accounts ; first, because the letters join 
more readily \ secondly, it is more agreeable to a cor- 
rect taste. Great attention is necessary in making 
the letters a, d, g^ and q ; and the chief difficulty is 
in forming the o part. 

1. In joining the fine stroke of the § to the o, care 
must be taken to give it a slight curve at the top, 
and to come exactly back upon it, in forming the o> 

2. Carry up the fine stroke of the o, so as to strike 
the extremity of the curved top above described * f which 
will make the o part a little more slanting than in 
o proper. 

3. In forming the final down stroke, come hack exact*, 
fafon the fine stroke, as far as the middle of the <?* 
where the pen will naturally leave it in giving the 
regular slant to this stroke. Unless the 1st and 2d 



pages of each lesson :* one or two pages can never an- 
swer the purpose* The learner must have sufficient 
practice in the system to render it familiar to him. 
The more extensive the practice, the more rapid will 
be the improvement The amount of practice I 
have recommended in this lesion, equally applies to 
every subsequent one* 

The teacher must be extremely careful to make the^ 
learner move on the nails of the two under fingers, 
throughout all these exercises ; and to this end, those 
fingers must be continually tied, until the habit of 
holding the hand correctly is confirmed. Without this 
no person can acquire the true mode of writing. 

To enable the pupil to keep the columns straight, 
let perpendicular lines be ruled at proper distances 
down the paper. The pupil should write each letter 
or word exactly in the middle, the extremity of the 
loops touching the ruled lines on each side* 

"E^ 6 ■«PP"«^ that each Jesson requite oidy w hour's stitiir. The 

2^ V™^ Ih PT*"^ h li * l °^ r ° r tin*, tUj caX written 

nearly equal to the columns in the plates. ^ lcu 

Kr 1 7 S? I** F ^ riier * *l">uM write the exercises upon slatee, tintit 

they €»n form the letters wit| tolerable freedom and accuracy. >rL n ilE 2* 3 
saT c paper, bat gwe the pupil* confidence, and enable them to make SmSSS 
fmproirement when they are permitted to practice with pen and ink ■ 




Plate. 10. 

It will first be requisite to consider the difference 
between the formation of the a?j in the first column, 
and the common mode of making it The common 
practice is to give it the shape of two c\ the one in- 
verted and the other in its right position. As this 
manner of forming the # is always found difficult, 
without taking off the pen, the form of it given in 
Plate 10, will generally answer the purpose m 
running hand, and can be made with great ease, 
without lifting the pen from the paper. Let it be 
noticed here that the first part of the x resembles 
very nearly the first part of a small m, slightly turn- 
ed to the left at the bottom ; the second part is like 
a small t, a little turned towards the right at the top. 
The pupil should ^qmiiience with the first part, as j 
if he intended to form ihe first part of an observ- I 
ing to return upwards on the stroke he came down 
with, then return down again on the stroke he went j 
up with, forming the second part something like the 
shape of an i, without taking off the pen, and so con- 
tinue keeping on the pen from j? to by means of 
the loops, till the column is completed- The e is so 
simple that a long direction is not necessary. Only 
be particular to make a clear open loop in the e it- 
self. The o has been already sufficiently explained 
in the second lesson- Learners often find the $ 
rather difficult when the pen is kept on- It is near- 
ly as easy as any other letter, if we attend properly 
to bringing the pen back, round the turn at the bet- 

©f these directions be observed, one of two defects 
Trill occur : either the left side of the o will be too 
little curved, or be looped. If the 3d be neglected, 
though the 1st and 2d should not, the result will be 
a very imperfectly formed letter, or ei, ej, Sre. 
Let the injunctions (page 72) relative to the amount 
&f practice, and making the nails of the under fingers 
a moveable rest) be strictly observed in this andl every 
subsequent lesson. 

Practical PEJSfli&asHif * 


Pku ih 

In the classification of the letters of this lesson, re- 
course is had to the long letters* instead of loops to 
join with the small ones. Any letter in the alphabet 
may be connected, in the same manner as in this or 
the preceding plates, according to the fancy or inclw 
nation of the learner. The first line in this lesson is 

n 1 

the same, either from the top or bottom of the col- 
umn. Writing is always said to be most correct, 
when the letters appear well shaped, even and uni- 
form, when viewed upside down* In performing this 
line, the bottom of the h must come nearly opposite, 
or rather below that part of the y where the fine 
stroke crosses it; otherwise the perpendicular posi- 
tion of the line of movement cannot be preserved^ 
nor will the letters stand under each other. A single 
trial will convince the pupil of this. The directions 
already given in relation to the position, movement, 
holding the pen, not taking it off till each column is 
finished, must invariably be observed- 1 am the more 
strenuous on these points, on account of the freedom 
and expedition which is thereby acquired. If the 
learner neglect them, he need not expect much success ; but 
on the contrary, by strictly adhering to the direction & 
given r he may reasonably hope to gain all possible 
perfection. The pliable motion of the fingers may 
be used throughout the whole of the lessons, but not 
without the free movement of the arm at the same time, 

In the second column, great care must be taken to 
form the a directly opposite to the middle looping of 


torn. When the $ is formed, return steadily round 
the bottom from the dot of the s; so as to keep on the 
line. A little practice will soon confirm this habit. 
In mating the f, follow up (he down stroke, and form 
a small lopp like an o, in the middle of it, continue 
the fine stroke, which serves for a crossing to the 
and readily joi tie it to any letter that may follow! 
In the ^ which is in the form of two iV, the down 
strokes return half way upon the up strokes, The 
u and w f are made nearly on the same prinqipI^T 


the / The are to be placed perpendicularly un- 
der each other, and the /V to rue parallel. In the 
third column, containing the he, some difficulty may 
arise in giving the c its proper shape, by having to 
return back on the fine stroke, round the top, after the 
dot is made. 

The c is made on the same principle of the o* ex- 
cept in making the dot> which a little practice will 
soon perfect. In the line hd, be very careful to join 
the long stroke of the tf, in the manner prescribed in 
Lesson IL When the d is made in the form it has in 
the plate, some are apt* in corning down with the back 
stroke, to go to the right side of the fine stroke that 
is taken up from the o part; and in this case the d 
has the form of two letters, in the shape of o I This 
must be avoided as much as possible. The h is made 
every way like the A, except ia the middle of the 
last part If there should be any difficulty in mak- 
ing the last part of the that part should be prac- 
tised by itself, until it can be written uniformly,. 

The following Monosyllables may be joined together by 
the assistance of the loop given in the first Lesson^ viz: 

Ak, ek, ik, ok, a], el, il, ol : am* em, im, om, ad, en, 
in, on> ap, ep, ip, op, up* ar, er, or* ur, as, es, os, us, 
at, et, it, ot, ut, av, ev, iv, ov, uv, aw, ew, ow, ax, ex, 
ix, ox, ux, ay, ey, oy, az, ez, iz, oz; bla, ble, bli, blu* 
bra, bre, bri, bro, bru ; cha, che, chi, cho, chu, ela, 
cle, cli, clo, clu, era, ere, cri, cro, cru ; dra, dre, dri^ 
dro, dru, dwa, dwe, dwi ; fla 4 fle, fli, flo, flu, fra, fre, 
fri, fro, fru? gla, gle, gli, glo, glu, gra, gre, gri, gro, 

a ) • + :"Tlr5 

I ♦ 



i' • . * / 


gru ; kna,. kne, kni, kno, knu ; pha, phe, phi, pho, 
phu, pla, pie, pli, plo, plu, pra, pre, pri, pro, pru ; 
qua, que, qui, quo*, sea, see, sci, sco, scu, sha, she, 
shi, sho, shu, ska, ske, ski, sko, ska, sli, slo, slu, sma, 
sine, smi, srao, smu, sna, sne, sni, sno, snu, spa, spe, 
Bpi, spo, spu, sta, ste, sti, sto, stu, swa, swe, swi, swo, 
swu ; tha, the, thi, tho, thu, tra, tre, tri, tro, tru, twa, 
twe, twi, two } wha, whe, whi, who, wra, ,wre, wri, 
wro, wru. 

From the foregoing classification and combination, 
every letter of the alphabet is kept in continual 
practice, while a continuation of a letter separately 
is always in command. Freedom, regularity and 
quickness are the sure result ; for, by writing the 
letters perpendicularly under each *)ther, without 
lifting the pen, the learner is compelled to keep the 
arm easy and light, and the hand is riot drawn out 
of its proper position, as it frequently is in the com- 
mon mode of writing in a horizontal direction, 
where its true position has not been inculcated, 
trained and confirmed by habit. When the learner 
has completely acquired the movements of the hand 
and arm separately, and then conjointly^ he may return 
to this Lesson, and practice it with the free use of 
the fingers, combining the action of the fingers and 
that of the hand while writing each word, and move 
the whole arm while forming each line, which con- 
nects one word to another. 

When the movement of the whole arm is well ac- 
quired, and the position of the hand completely confirm- 
erf, the nest step will be to learn the movement of 
the fore-arm* The learner must commence this 


author, onwbicli writings ana engravings executed by the sons 
of Seth the grandsons of Adarn, still remained. Modern critics 
toe ascertained that Josephus here committed an crrror and 
that the Seth of whom lie speaks must have been the Sesoatris 
of a later time. The theory of Josephus was advocated in a 
celebrated work, called ihe Vatican Library, composed ny-Mu- 
tio Pansa, the Librarian, and published at Rome loJU. 

Among the heathen nations, t!te question of its origin was 
warmly debated, and the Egyptians and Ph™ans, contended 
for the honor with zea! and ability, tn the third book of the 
poem Pharsalia, the post alludes to this controversy, ■ 

phenices [>ri mi fainae ai si 
Mansuram rudibus, vbcam signari figurh. 


which id freely translated by Howe in these lines i 

h Phenieiaiis first, if atident fame be true 
The sac fed mystery of letters kncw t 
v, They first by sound in various Bnes designed 

Eiprest tho meWing of ^ thinki ng mind. 
The power of woids by figures riulo cbnvey'd 
And useful science e veil asting made." 

It is generally conceded that Cadmus, the Phonic, an, introduc- 
ed tetters into Greece about 1500 years before the Christian era, 
and that they were then only 16 in number, to which four were 
added by Palamedes and four by Simomde^ the celebrated 
eledac poet of Cos, It is a fact worthy of being remembered 
that the first step in the education of Grecian youths accord- 
ing to Aristotle, was, to trace the forms of letters with elegance 
and facility. From Greece letters were brought to Latmm by 
Evander and if he was honored as a God after his death, and an 
altar was erected to him on Mount Aventine, amid the temples of 
Juno and the Bona Dea, it was a tribute as much to 1ns scholar* 
ship as his piety. The forms of the letters thus brought fro ni 
Greece, continued for some time nearly the same, and capital 
letters were almost exclusively used as is evident from the in- 
scriptions on monuments and coins* 

It is even said that the forms of all modern alphabets may be 
traced to the letters of Cadmus. The manner of writing was 
different in different countries, The Greeks originally wrote 
from right to left and left to right alternately, the Hebrews and 
Assyrians from right to toft,, the .Chinese horn the top to the 

bottom of the page. v 

The materials which the ancients used m writing were very 
various, billets of wood, metals, skins* wax, and the bark of 


trees. A very interesting field of inquiry here presents itself 
fot examination, and not only in the respect alluded to, but in 
many remarkable peculiarities, attending' the practice of the art P 
Some of our most pointed and elegant allusions in composition, 
may be traced to i he manner in which the ancients executed 
their writing. Even the forms of society, and the permanence 
of ancient governments might be advantageously studied, by 
referring to the progress of writing and the readiness with which 
it was executed. These considerations are perhaps not within 
the sphere of our present duty, and, however reluctantly, we 
must therefore for the present omit them. 

With the changes which followed the transfer of the Roman 
Empire to the East, literature changed its character. The art$ 
were perverted to abuses*, and. the gloom of the dark ages fol- 
lowed the perversion* The scenes of classical renown, were 
covered by the mists of error and ignorance, and it remained 
for the later period of the moderns to rescue even the tomb of 
Cicero from the oblivion which covered them* 

Mr* Astle the celebrated English antiquarian gives it as bis 
opinion, that the Britons were not acquainted with written char- 
acters until the time of St. Augustine, who visited England du- 
■ ring the fifth century. From this period down to the eleventh 
century very few persons were able to write. The great 
Charlemagne was unable write Ms name, and he only began 
his studies under the celebrated Alc-uinus^ at the age of 45 

Louis 4th of France^ who had the benefit of a residence of 
13 years in England, was not more skilful in the art of writing 
than his cotemporaries and predecessors, and on the occasion 
of his ridiculing Fulk, Count of Anjou, for some display of 
his literary attainments, he received from him the sententious 
reply of Noveritis Domine ? tit. rex illileratus est nsinus corona 
ttts* The latin classics were scarcely read, and contracts were 
made verbally for want of notaries capable of drawing them up* 
In 992 scarcely a person could be found in the city of Rome t 
who could explain the principles of writing, nor was (here at 
this period a clergyman in England who could write a letter* 

The very few persons who could do so, adopted the Saxon 
band which is spoken of as being when well executed, of & 
very beautiful character. 

In the 11th century however the world began to bestir itself; 
ypt even as late as the time of Frederick Barbarossa, the first 
men of the age, himself included, were ignorant of the Art of 
Writing, and learning was chiefly confined to princes, from the 
circumstance that it required in those days the treasures of a 

80 ' PRACTICAL PEffffllAffSHlf. 

movement by making ovtibi continuing the pen on the 
paper^ arid going rorind repeatedly on the same out- 
line, as quickly as practicable ; not however in a 
serawlinsr manner, but with an uniform eqtuible move- 
ment. (See plate 12.) When the pen has gone round 
biie of these ovals twenty or thirty times, the learner 
must apply the same bold movement to easy letters 
and short words ; and then return to practising orals 
as before* until he has so confirmed this movement, 
ae to be able to write with expedition and ease*- — - 
The movement of the fingers, in combination with 
that of the fore-arm may how be used. This will 
iery much assist him in giving the true shape to the 
fetters* But this must never be allowed until after 
& confirmed habit of the movement of the fore-arm is 
acquired. After having practised on the Ovals until 
fee can make them with facility, the learner should 
proceed to write; first, single letters; and next, 
ahott and easy words, nearly the size of tlie ovals, — 
Every word must be written without lifting the pen. 
Long words may be next introduced : but in all ca- 
ses, each word must be written without lifting the 
pen. Care must be taken, in writing the words, to 
preserve the same movement that produces the 
6 raid ; that is, as the pen moves on the paper, the 
under fingers must be kept in full play, and follow the 
sainfe movement: so that if another pen were fixed 
to them, both pens would produce the same word at 
the same time. The horizontal ovals, with the words 
iffiproventeni and monumental included, are intended to 
give a free action of the hand from left to right. The 
learner ?hoold fill several sheets of these oticik pre- 



vious to commencing the words. The movement 
of thefore-anrtj says Carstairs, ought of all others to 
receive the special attention of the learner* I con- 
ceive it to be of such vital importance, that 1 would 
not undertake to teach a free running hand without it 
This movement is to bo performed chiefly with the 
hand and fore-arm moving conjointly at the same in- 
stant ; and the learner must be particularly careful 
to rest the arm, during this excrcise,/m^ at tfie dhow* 




- . i 


When the pupil has gone through the different 
combinations of the letters in plates 8, f>, 10 and II, 
and can execute them with facility, he may proceed 
to the words in plate 15. In those parts of the let- 
ters which have no up turns, care must he taken to 
carry the hair strokes from the bottom of the full 
strokes. This will give the writing a free and open 
\appearance. But equal care must be taken not to 
round them ; which would destroy all distinction be- 
tween the letters; as, turning n into m into a£, h 
into U 9 &c. 

The pupil should write a great many more words 
than are given in the plate, not less than twenty, with- 
out taking off the pen This will verv much assist 
him in attaining a free use of the arm* 

In coming round with the strokes that join the 
words together, be sure to move the whole arm, and 
bear the pen quite lightly, so as to make the joining 
strokes as fine as they are in the plate* 

When the words in the plate have been written r&* 
pcatedli/) the following words maybe written in col- 
umns in the same manner: — amend, mind, many, 
men, mine, wind, come, then, whom, want, wine, 
land, time, tame, fame, home, lame, poem, mend, 
mild minim, mint, mound, money, mourn, morn, main, 
mental, rind, roman, grand, game, form, found, frame, 
member, move, mount, warm, commend, moment 

v y t 

X h \ \ \ 
\K V, V 


s tx t\ P\ fX-' F \ 





Plate 16, 

The words of this exercise (/to 16,) must be ex- 
ecuted precisely in the same manner as those of 
lesson V, The only difference between them is, 
that longer words are given here to combine with the 
up and down movement of the hand, and the side 
movement from left to right. 

Tfte foUotmng words are to be practised in the sam$ 
f manner m those given in the plate. 

Improvement, comprehend, grammarian, commis- 
sioner, commonwealth, innumerable, inconvenience, 
leamington, bombardment, triumphant, commenda- 
tion, remuneration, importance, monumental, decamp- 
ment, countryman, countermand, tantamount, sym- 
metrical, countenance, Wellington, commandment, 
compliment, contemperament, contemplation, com- 
munication, necromancer, remember, misemployment^ 
immoveable, immortalize, &c, 

* ■ 

Likewise all, or any pf the following, viz. 

Acceptable, accessary, accuracy, accurately, ad- 
mirable, admiralty, adversary, alabaster, amiable, 
amicable, annually, answerable, apoplexy, applica- 
ble; caterpiller, ceremony, charitable, comfortable, 
commentary, commonalty, competency, conquer 


able, controversy, cordiality, courteously, cowardli- 
ness, creditable, critically, customary ; damageable, 
difficulty, disputable; efficacy, elegancy, erninency, 
exemplary, exquisitely; formidable; gentlewoman, 
giliflowcr, governable, graciously ; habitable, hon- 
ourable; literature, luminary; malefactor, matrimo- 
ny, measurable, melancholy, memorable, mercenary, 
miserable, momentary 9 multiplicand, multiplier; nav- 
igator, necessary, numerable; ordinary; palatabley 
pardonable, parliament, passionate, penetrable, pen- 
sioner, perishable, persecutor, personable, pin cusb* 
Ion, practicable, preferable, profitable, promissory, 
prosecutor; reasonable, reputable ; sanctuary, sea- 
sonable, secretary, separable, serviceable, solitary, 
sovereignty, speculative, stationer, statuary, sublu- 
nary; temporary, territory, testimony, transitory; 
valuable, variable, variously, violable, virtually, vol- 
untary ; utterable s warrantable, weather-beaten ; 
abstemious, absurdity, acceptation, accompany, ac- 
countable, addition, adventure, adversity, aflection, 
affinity, affirmative, affliction, agreeable, allowable, 
ambitious, anatomist, ...annuity, antagonist, . antiquity, 
apology, apostolic, apprenticeship, arithmetic, ascen* 
sion, asparagus, assertion, astonishment, astrologer, 
astronomer, attraction, reversion, audacious, authori- 
ty; barbarity, benevolence: calamity, captivity, car- 
nation, chronology, collection, combustion, commen- 
dable, commisscrate, commission, commodious, com- 
modity, communicate, communion, companion, com- 
passion, conclusion, condition, confession, confusion, 
continual, contributor, convenient, conversion, con- 
viction, convulsion, correction, corruption, courage* 



ous, creation ; declension, deduction, deformity, de- 
liberate, delicious, deliverance, deplorable, d esirable^ 
destruction, devotion, digestion, discemable, discov- 
ery, distinction, distraction^ divinity, division, domi- 
nion, doxology, duration; edition, effectual, enumer- 
ate, erroneous, executor, executrix, experiment, 
experience, expostulate, expression, extortion, ex- 
travagant ; felicity, felonious, forgetfulness, formali- 
ty, foundation, fraternity, frugality, futurity; geogra- 
phy, geometry, gratuity ; habitual, harmonious, histo- 
rian, historical, humanity, hypocrisy; idolater, idola- 
try, illustrious, immediate, immensity, immoderate, 
immovable, impatience, impenitent, impiety, impres- 
sion, impurity, incessantly, inclinable; encourage- 
ment, incredible, industrious, infraction, infirmity, 
ingenuous, ingredient, inheritance, iniquity, instruc- 
tion, interpreter, invention, invincible, invisible, 
irregular; luxuriant, magician, majority, mali- 
cious, melodious, memorial, methodical, minority, 
miraculous, morality, mortality, mysterious; nativity, 
necessity, nobility, notorious; obedient, objection, 
obscurity, observable, obstruction, occasion, omission, 
opinion, oppression, original, outrageous ; particular, 
peculiar, perfection, permission, perpetual, persua- 
sion, petition, philosophy, physician, plantation, pos- 
session, posterity, precarious, preservative, presump- 
tuous, prevaricate, prodigious, production, profession, 
promiscuous, prophetical, proportion, rebellion, re- 
ception, recovery, redemption, reduction, reflection, 
relation, religious, remarkable, ridiculous ; salvation, 
satirical, security, severity, significant, sincerity, so- 
ciety, sobriety, subjection, submission, superfluous, 





This plate is a specimen of the style in which the 
pupil may be enabled to write, if he pursues, with in- 
dustry, attention and perseverance, the instructtooS 
laid down in; the foregoing pages. Should he, from 
negligence or any other cause, find that his writing 
is not sufficiently improved, after he has gone once 
regularly through the lessons, he must begin again, 
and practice them repeatedly from beginning to end, 
until he can, with certainty, write equal to the stjle 
of this plate. 

PL w 

I* 1 Co?rbh?}fbwtio?u 

r \ 




t : . J- i 

* S3 

S 5 » 


« ass. « ~* p 0 -5 

S a 2 51 

"4 ^ £ p S 3 

5 8 5 " B. I 

6 cr s* 




nation to purchase even the few books which were .known t© 
scholars. The invasion of England by William the Conqueror, ■ 
caused "the introduction of the Roman hand-wntmg m that 
country, But not until the 1 3 th century, was the world oi let- 
tew in a better condition. The Art of Writing, by the force of 
precept and example among the learned then began to be exer- 
cised Copvists were now attached to the principal univ«rsi* 
tlel ; in the city of Milan fifty copyists found employment at 
one 'nW in iimecribinff the works of the ancients.; kvery 
monastery "of note had its apartment called a senptormm, which 
was reserved for the business of copying. But notwithstanding 
the revival of letters, a libr ary of 2 or 300 volume*, was m 
those days & treasure beyond the reach of most monarchy 
The recovery of a M9. says an Italian author was at this 
time more regarded than the conquest of a kingdom. , 

The art of printing however soon gave a new turn to the tor- 
tunes of philosophy and the progress of the arts. The wood- 
en types of Laurence Coster effected during the 15th century a 
complete revolution in literature. The art of writing,- without 
abating its importance has since been applied to the practical 
and every day purposes of life, while printing steps in to pre- 
serve and multiply the productions of its sister art 

The purposes of comnierce, of epistolary correspondence, 
and the constant necessity - of rapidly setting down our own 
thoughts -as they arise and before they are forgotten, must ever 
make the Art of Writing one of inestimable value to mankind. 
And indeed printing requites the obligations she is under 
to her, by disseminating the methods now adopted, to im- 
prove the hand- writing of merchants, men of business, and 
ttien of letters* 

To produce uniformity, ease, and rapidity in the construction 
of written characters, has been the aim of the scientific m all 
refined nations, The attention of learned bodies lias again and t 
again been directed to the subject, and in our own day the phi- 
losophical system of Mr. Carstairs is receiving the critical no- 
tice of the learned in Europe and: America, Before we pro- S 
ceed to an ex amotion of <fm sy'kenv however, which has been 
introduced iato this city by Mr- Foster let us notice some of 
the 'individuate who have made this subject their study from 
the time of the restoration of learning to our own era. 

The first authors on this subject of any note are John Bail* 
don and John de Beaucheene. They puhlished a work in quarto 
at London in the year 1510, which they styled " a book of divers 
sorts of hands." It contained a set of copies of the various 
hand-writings then hi use, which, according to Mr. Asllewefe 


the set hand, the common Chancery and the Court hands, partly 
Gothic and partly Norman, and were used in records and judi* 
cial proceedings* The Secretary hand in u>e for oilier purpo- 
ses first began to be popular about this period . ■ Be&ucbesne 
Wfss a schoolmaster at Blackfriaie, and \m work was prind.- 
pally an illustration of the Fmicb and English sec retary hand s ? 
the Italian, Court am! Chancery band^, with the just and true 
proportions of the capital roman Idters* This book opened 
lengthwise, and for that reason, was considered very .'remark ti- 
tle and probably our modern copy books have, been consrr net- 
ed on a similar plan, without their author^ knowledge of the 

The next author of note was Peter Bales a celebrated Writ- 
ing Master born- in 1547, who published in 1 590, a work called 
" Brachygrapby or the writing schoolmaster in. three hooks 
teaching swift writing, true writing and (air writing*" This 
work went through two edition^ 

To Peter Bales we owe a passing tribute (or his superiority 
as ei penman. Indeed be occupies quite a distinguished place 
in biography, because in 1575 be wrote the Lord's prayer, the 
creed, the ten commandments two short, prayers injatin, his own 
name and motto with -some other things within tlie circle of ja 
penny and had the honor of presenting it in person to Queen 
Elizabeth at Hampton Court. His great dexterity with the pen 
recommended him to Secretary Walsingham, who employed 
him to imitate hand-writing for political purposes, in which he 
was remarkably skilful Proceeding upon the doctrine of too 
many ancient as well as modern politicians, that the end justi- 
fies the means, this statesman was enabled by the ^counterfeit 
presentment^ of this Peter Bales^ to baffle the design of hi si' 
own and his country's enemies. Bales j& also remembered foi' 
a trial of skill with another writing master of the name of 
Johnson, for a prize of a golden pen worth £2® sterling, which 
was awarded to him by the umpires. If is stated thai when 
his work on writing was published he received no less th^n 
eighteen dhfer rut complimentary addresses in poetry; and some 
of them were written by the most eminent men of the time./,.- 

William Kearney followed with a u new book, containing all 
sorts of bands usually -written in.ejirist^ndoai with the true pro- 
portions of the.roman jfapilaU." 1 " This was published in 1590 3 
but it was thought to he a mere copy of Beauchesiie, 

At this same period and in the same year a learned Neapoli- 
tan, John Baptist Porta gave the world a work called, i( De m- 
otitis notis literamm^ in which be described 180 different 
modes of secret writing. 


FRANTIC AC FEKMAlfSttll*/ 87 * 

Section VII. 


Instructions for Plate 19, 

In writing the m's in this plate* the learner must 
move the whole arm up and down the paper on the 
nails of the third and fourth fingers in a perpendicu- 
lar direction* Take a pen without ink, and trace 
the m's on the plate several times over as quick as 
possible. By this means the perpendicular movement 
which this method of writing requires, will be sooner 
attained than by imitation with ink. Observe, at the 
same time, that the pen is not to be taken off ip the 
whole page. In imitating with ink, be particular to 
make every turn at the bottom sharp, and the top 
round. When the pupil can write this plate correct- 
ly, with ease* and with great speed, wprAs may be 
written in the same manner, beginning large and wri- 
ting them less every line, until they become as small 
as the last line of the m's in this plate. 

I would strenuously urge this method upon the pu- 
pil, as it gives great command to -the hand, and won- 
derfuj freedom and (expedition, 

Instructions for Plate 20- 

It will be noticed in plate 20 that the words ar6 
first written large, and gradually diminished by means 
of a diagonal line drawn from one corner of the page 



to the other. I have found this method of great use 
to pupils, as it is a kind of scale to enable them to 
write words of any size and width, from -very large 
hands to the smallest possible, by almost insensible 
gradations. This simple yet useful contrivance, is of 
great use to all who write a straggling and effeminate 
running hand, because, from this scale they can ac- 
commodate their writing to any size they please* 

Instructions for Plate 21, 

The method of running from one letter to anoth er, 
or from one word to another, by a contin u^tion of 
curved or straight lines, must evidently give a free 
and easy movement to the arm, and will, if perseve- 
red in, give great command in writing. The lines 
that connect each letter or word, should be " made 
quite light, and to this end the arm ought to move 
freely on the desk, and the pen must be pressed 
lightly on the paper, otherwise it will form art unnat- 
ural down stroke, and produce a rough and uncer- 
tain fine stroke. 

The letters o, a, e, c, re, ff, u f ^, and should be 
practised in a similar manner to the second line of 
this plate. — It is to be observed, however, that this 
horizontal practice should not be attempted until 
the learner has acquired and confirmed the correct 
position of the hand and pen, 



Instructions for Plate 22. 

The lines in this plate, are given to show how let- 
ter and words may be joined together Without lifting 
the pen from the paper in each ; and may be continu- 
ed even to the extent of a whole page. Thus any 
word or letter may be practised in the same manner. 
In like manner the whole alphabet may be written 
from beginning to end, without lifting the pen, , 

Instructions for Plate 23, 

The effect produced by writing large and small al- 
ternately by the same movement, will give additional 
freedom to the small hand. Large letters require a 
large movement, and consequently if the pen is con- 
tinued on the paper, the learner will acquire more 
power to mate the small letters* By combining the 
capitals with small letters, it will be found to give 
great facility to writing. The teacher may make 
h\& pupils practice on slates all the capitals (except 
F, N, P* S, T, and W,) connected in the same man- 
ner as those in the last line of plate 23, previous to 
Writing them on paper. Joining words together with 
the assistance of the long is extremely useful, and 
for occasional practice, the alphabet of small letters 
joined together alternately with the long ^ in the 
whole line, without lifting the pen, will be found to 
have great efficacy* 


Section VIII. 


As has been already remarked, to write well, two 
things are requisite, viz: to acquire a just idea of thfc 
correct shape of the letters 5 and that mechanical use 
of the fingers, hand, and arm, necessary to execute 
them with facility. 

Inattention to the shape, proportion, slanting position 
Of the letters, method of sitting, moveffimtSi and holding 
o{ the pm,not unfrequently retard the progress of learn- 
ers and give such bad habits in writing, as are often 
retained through life. Every teacher, of penmanship* 
should be particularly careful when the learner first 
commences not to permit the least inaccuracy, how- 
ever trifling, to escape his notice and correction* 

For although it must be confessed, that it is very la* 
"borious and needs great patience to regulate the po- 
sition, paper, pen, &c. as frequently as is necessary^ 
which for some weeks, may be as often as every two , 
or three minutes; yet, the correct method must 
he acquired before the pupil can ever write with 
freedom and ease, and it is much easier to avoid bad 
habits, than to correct them when they are once 
confirmed* Not only so, but the proficiency of the 
learner will abundantly compensate for the pains ne- 
cessary to produce the desired effect Many sit, 
lie forward* and lean on the desk as if they were 
short sighted. Some lay their hand down so much 
to tfea right ats to come completely in contact with 


the paper and in that ease the pen is thrown over s© 
as to make it impossible to write any otherwise thai? 
with the side of it 

The pen ought to point exactly to the right should- 
er and be elevated so as to come between the se- 
cond and third joints of the forefinger ; the extremity 
of the thumb should be kept directly opposite the 
first joint of the forefinger. The teacher should 
make such general observations on the practice oi 
the art as will enable the pi,pil to form a right judg- 
ment on the subject and point out his errors as well 
as show him how to correct them ; for example, in this 
case ie far more effectual than precept; and it is much 
better to delineate with a pencil, or otherwise, how 
a letter should have been formed, than merely to tell 
him of it This practice I have found particularly 
beneficial, even in teaching large classes, where the 
trouble is proportionably much greater than in teach- 
ing a single pupiL The young learner should write 
the exercises in plates 5 and 6, first upon a slate or 
. black board, and then on paper, continuing to prac- 
tise the elements separately, until he can form them 
with facility and correctness ; he may then be taught 
to join them into letters and words; making himself 
in some degree, master of one letter, before he at- 
tempts a second, or thinks of joining them, # Before 

* There is an obvious analogy between the acquisition of an art, or science) and 
the erection of a baiidin g. If the ed ifi cu i s d esjigoed to. be e olid and* durable, no di s- 
advantage beyond a trivial delay, can ame from excavating more deeply or more, 
extensively than the foundation absolutely demaudt \ while any deficiency at the 
basement, might prove fatal to the stability of the superstructnreH Thus whatsoev- 
er kind of knowledge we are studious toobtaio, it can be of little consequence that 
our progress should be slightly retarded by devoting too much attention to^rsf pi-Js- 
ciple?; but if before we are adequately grounded in the rudiments of an art or 
eBce» we ascend preosphatcly to its higher and more difficult parts s then is Ihe- 
^buudation of our knowledge dcfectiYC, a&d Hie febri^wtjeh we bare rejittjd ^Jyyjr 
ij. wjjl ^ PJ$mx$$U6>bls insecure, 


tha, learner proceeds to the small hand lessons,— af- 
ter the instructions relative i& "plates 5 and 6, have 
been strictly attended to, — he should be provided 
with a complete set oflarge hand copies, and should 
fill several pages of his copy book, at each lesson he 
takes, by writing each word without Mftirig the pen, 
just in the same manner bb free running hmid f ie writ- 
ten. The letters should be at least an inch in height 
The arm raust be kept free and ea&y while practising 
in this manner* and rest lightly on the desk. This 
practice should be followed by the pupil for about a 
month previous to his commencing the small hand 
exercises* When he is confirmed in wanting a 
good large hand, he may proceed to the acquirement 
of a running hand, but even then he ought to keep 
up the practice oflarge hand in all ike movements as it 
will always have a tendency to give boldness, com- 
mand, and freedom. 

After the learned has acquired a thorough knowK 
edge of the several movements, their combinations 
and application, and has attended to the instructions 
relative to Lessons 1, 11, HI IV, V, and VI, and can 
execute the various exercises in the plates w r ith free- 
dom and accuracy, he should write, first on a slate 
and then on paper, an alphabetical set of words, each 
word beginning with a capital, which he must at- 
tempt "striking** as he goes along, always rubbing 
out such as are incorrect, and writing the rest of the 
word as well as he can, taking the hair strokes of 
them's and ra's from the bottom of the full stroke, 
and joining all the letters that consist of bottom turns 
exactly in the middle, , 


To attain the greatest degree of freedom and to 
acquire, speedily, that mechanical use of the hand, 
arm, and fingers so absolutely indispensable to free 
writing, it is recommended to the learner to write 
frequently whole pages of the words Philadelphia, 
Philosophy, Philosophical, &c, without lifting the pen. 

Practice in writing words composed of letters thai 
go above and below the line alternately, gives most 
freedom to the hand and makes almost every other 
word composed of short letters perfectly easy. But 
should the learner indulge himself in lifting and mend- 
ing his pen often, he not only loses time, but renders his 
hand unfit for busimssl When practising as above re- 
commended, the learner should writfe as rapidly as 
he can and keep the letters tolerably correct, but 
not quicker, lest he run his hand into a scrawh He 
should avoid flourishes, and be particular not to make 
his capitals too large or the stems and tails of the 
letters so long as to interfere with the line, above or 
below. If he err in any of these respects he not on- 
ly discovers a bad taste but makes his w riting difficult 
to be read ; the worst fault that can attend it. For 
nothing is more evident, than, that the hand which ccm 
be most easily readi — holes neatest,— and can be written 
with the greatest expedition^ is best adapted to the busi- 
ness of the counting house and the every day purpo- 
ses of life. The plainer and more simple the letters 
are formed, the better they are adapted to expedi- 
tion. All complicated forms should therefore be 
avoided, as they destroy regularity and impede the 
speedy attainment of the art It is a great error to 
affect the formation of the same letter two or three 


different ways as writing is thereby rendered irregu- 
lar and ungraceful. 

An elegant and masterly use of the pen cannot be 
attained under the direction of the most skilful teach- 
er without a reasonable time for practice and atten- 
tive application on the part of the scholar. Whoev- 
er pretends to the contrary is guilty of a base impo- 
sition upon the weakness and credulity of his em* 

The learner, who in ambitious to excel is this art 
should attentively view the performances of others 
and observe both their beauties and defects. He 
should endeavour to fix in his mind an exact idea of 
of the shape and fulness of the letters, and of the 
proportions and beauties of all their parts. This will 
give him true and just conceptions of penmanship 
and enable him to make much quicker and greater 
improvement in it,than he otherwise could have done, 

44 Writing, in point of real utility, is a sublime artj 
and ranks in the highest class ; nor will it be dispu- 
ted* that it is also susceptible of being cultivated so 
as to produce a pleasing effect upon the eye* Bat 
as plainness is the great object to be obtained, in or- 
der to avoid any danger of niistaking the meaning pf 

* Nothing has & greater tendency to bring the art of writing into contempt, than 
the pretensions which are every dby displayed by puffing advertisers* Is it to be 
expected that ** persons from the age* of la to 50" can he made accomplished pen 
men in the course of "twelve easy lI!8sons." ! Advertisements which appeal." 
daily in our papers promise not mucn less — and to 611 up the measure of imposition, 
lesson* are a* blacking bottles, sold warranted ! M It is absurd to talk of making 
a child learn an art, or deieuce, in a few hours! Persons who pretend to thh 9 
generally produce wonderful stories of ™ rapid hnprovwnml" but those who tell 
or receive these stories, says Dr. Johnson, should consider that no one can be 
taught fasier than he can learn. The speed of the best horseman is limited by the 
power of his hftree. Every person who has undertaken to instruct others g An tell 
what slow advances he has been able to make, and how much patience it require* 
to recall vagrant inattention, to stimulate sluggish indifference, or to rectify absurd: 
misapprehension- . 

Perfect writing cannot b£ atlalnejl in QT fk$$p$ hpW^I Vfc $ftt£E Hsfc^jOSnj! 
three or six months. 

jig, jtffe ai 

If - § *| < 

what may be written, any attempt to point out some 
of the causes which lead to this danger, and how it 
may be guarded against, it is hoped will not be con- 
sidered as officious* There is no doubt, carelessness 
in the writer, and bad teaching in the instructer, con- 
tribute towards it in a material degree ; but there 
are others, which it is presumed, have not occurred 
to every one, but which, when explained, must ap- 
per very evident, I allude particularly to the plan 
6f teaching in academies, and seminaries, where chil- 
dren receive one part of their education from one 
teacher, and another part from a different one — all 
of whom generally prescribe exercises of one kind 
frr another to be written by the pupils. Should the 
pupils, therefore, write the exercises in a careless 
manner, and the teacher who prescribed them ex* 
amine them only for the purpose of correcting what- 
ever he may perceive to be wrong in the grammar or 
the sense, without adverting to the imperfections of 
the writing, the pupils, taking advantage of this re* 
missness on the part of the teacher, are encouraged 
to go on in a scribbling style, by which they contract 
such habits of bad writing, as generally remain with 
them through life. But were all the teachers in such 
institutions to set their face against bad writing, and 
to reprimand the pupil who produced to them badly- 
written versions or exercises of any kind, in such a 
manner as to oblige them to write them afterwards 
in their fcest style, there can be no doubt but it would 
have such an eflfect, that fewer bad hands would be 
sgen, and, what is also equally obvious, less time and 
ley woajd be spent in learning to write than wfe^jF- 

96 • practecal penmanship- 

k«d©iw at present. Moreover, were teachers to go 
on in this way, the pupil's practice in the writing 
school might be turned to a good account, as, under 
such a vigilant smperin tendance, they would feel ne- 
cessitated to exert themselves much more than they 
do, and, instead of continually copying lines, after 
they can write tolerably well, they might be made 
to write, instead of them, some of their other lessons. 

« Supposing that most of young people left school 
with good hands, it would be well if the head men in 
mercantile houses, and other public offices, would 
watch those who may be placed under their notice, 
and follow up the system pursued by their teachers, 
by exercising the same salutary vigilance and control 
over them, in such a way as to give them confirmed 
habits of distinct and elegant writing. To show the 
actual advantages resulting from such checks, we 
need only compare the writing of any person in busi- 
ness, whose hand has been fairly formed, and who 
has been reared under their operation, with the wri- 
ting of another who has never felt them at all, but 
who has been allowed to «cribble n away, quite re- 
gardless of distinctness and beauty. 
* « Some academies are remarkable, too, for the fine 
specimens of penmanship, produced by the pupils, 
and for the skill and diligence of the master under 
whom they studied ; but still much of the merit, it is 
apprehended, is due to the other teachers, who will 
be found to have acted in concert with him, by mak- 
ing it a particular condition in their connection, that 
no badly written exercise of any kind should be al- 
lowed to pass uninsured by them, on any account 


St As some palliation of this indifference on the part 
of teachers and parents, &c, i t may be urged by the 
former, that it is out of their way— that it is interfer- 
ine with the business of others, and by the latter; that 
it is painful to be' chiding young people, &c, &c: all 
this is well enough, and may please those who do 
not see the real motive, or are heedless about the 
Consequences; but to any person of discernment, 
or to him who sets a proper value on the, importance 
of the time, or expense of children at school, it will 
appear in qttite a different light; so much is he con*- 
vinced of the fact, that he will hot hesitate to blame, 
and with severity too, such inattention, 
is perceptible, whether in parent or in teacher, espe- 
cially when it is clear that they could have prevented 
much of what is blamed, and promoted much of what 
is' desired. Besides this, when all interested act 
their part faithful!y,a relish for a good hand is cultiva- 
ted by the pupite .themselves* in proportion, too,to their 
improvement;— habits of attention are like wise acquis 
ed, which, to every experienced teacher, are, in ma^ 
liy respects, most important considerations- Yeti 
-notwithstanding all this care, were it e?en exerted as 
it ought to be, to insure fine hands, some evil genius, 
it is to be feared, has such a control over matters of ( 
taste, that many parents and even some teachers par* 
ticulariy those in the classical departments, are led 
to say, that to write finely is art accomplishment of 
very little value; and although they cannot but ad- 
mire elegant penmanship, and some of them can writ* 
well when they choose, yet they will neither encour* 
it as they might do, nor be at the trouble of writ* 


£S *' mactical **jp^& ; Rm 

h I* * %■ * ^ it- 

lug finely themselves. In fact, their indifference and 
practice would lead ub to infer, that it implies vulgar- 
ity in any one who shows an anxiety to render their 
hands even legible ! Such is one of those anomalies 
which exisl, over which philosophy has as yet ex- 
ercised but little 6r no successful control, and which 
will continue to exist, till the fashion alters, and a fine 
hand conies to he as much sought after, and as 
much valued by the public, as fine typography 
is by its admires. But suppose all were agreed 
that a fine hand should really he studied and 
practised, it may be asked, what is the particular 
style of writing that should be recommended as 
such ? To which it might be answered, that one 
style does not seem to be suitable for all ranks and 
conditions of people in the world; and to decide up- 
on what should be the most appropriate for general 
purposes would *be presumptuous. Whatever may 
fee the style desired, much depends upon the habits 
which the pupils acquire at first, and upon the care 
with which they are superintended afterwards, to- 
gether with the attention thfey themselves bestow in 
preserving a good hand when oncelliey have acqui- 
red it Like every other art, if a bad habit be con- 
tracted at first, it will be difficult to conquer it; and 
it will also tend greatly to retard the learners' pro- 
gress, and prevent them ever afterwards from arriving 
at that excellence to which they should aspire. For 
instance, if a person beginning to play upon the flute 
hold it in such a manner as to injure its tones, he will 
never become a fine performer till he hold the in- 
strument in a more favourable position. The same 


thing may be said of any other art ; and in propor- 
tion to the importance of that art, so should the care 
bestowed be in trying to come at those methods which 
are best calculated for accelerating the pupil's pro- 

« The great secret in teaching writing, as well as 
©ther arts, is to know how to execute what is really ex- 
cellent in any of them, and at the same time be able 
to make others attain to that excellence"* 

* Observation* on echftobi, and teaching some of the coiumon branches of Educa? 
aon s 1821 Ediabwrg: Oliver md fioyd* 


In 1617 a Jesuit, Herman Hugo of Brussels, published a 
work (prima origin^) on the " first origin of writing." This un- 
derwent a translation into German in 1738, by a person named 
Troiz, and was again translated into French and published at 
Paris 1774. Of the merit of this work we judge favorably 
from its being twice translated. 

In 16G3 7 David Brown a Scotsman, published a work called 
"New Invention or Calligraphy the art of fair writing^ 3 also 
another work which he styled the u whole art of expedition in 
writing" which appeared 1 638 In a quarto form. 

About this period Sir Wm* Petty, who died in 1689, published 
lri^ work on double writing* which, we suppose was on the prin- 
ciple of the penlegraph, or manifold writer of our own times. 
It was undoubtedly a mere plan for copying, 4d lit U led the way 
to his subsequent advancement in life. 1 . V 

The celebrated Edward Cocker, whose arithmetic is a byword, 
and whose moral* are a proverb, was the next w Titer ol note. 
He was born in 1 G31 1 and died 1677. He published his copy 
hook of > 4 fair writing" in an octavo farm 1657, This, with hie 
other works calbd Cocker's Urania or the Scholar's Delight, 
and his sentences for copying, which still maintain their ascen- 
dancy in modern copy books, knowtvin his day as u C ocker s 
morals," have preserved his remembrance to our own time. 

Darnel Richard followed Cocker in 1 6 69 1: with a Compendi- 
um' of the most usual hands of England, the Netherlands, bpauv 

France and Italy* • 1K ' , \ 

The Mathematician, Edmund born in 1593, and who 

died 1656, is the next author worthy of notice. He left a work 
called his u Remains," or Tutor for Arithmetic and Writing. 
Ife latter was however of the Cocker school, and by no means 
original. Wingate was a friend of Cromwell, took part in the 
civil wars, and was a member of Parliament* LW% 

In 1682, a person by the name of William Mason published 
a treatise called (i an exact lineal, sw ift, short, easy method ot 
writine," of which the title alone has reached us, _ 

Claude Comiers; a canon of Embrun who died 1 693 3 
published a work which he called a treatise on Speech*. Lan- 
guage and Writings, and which has been re-published at Pans, 
Brussel and Liege, and is still rare and difficult to be obtained. 

In 1734, a very curious publication made its appearance in 
London, of which David Casley was the author. It contained 1 
'» 150 different specimens of the manner of writing in the dit- 
ferent ages, from the 3d to the 1 5th century^ This work must 
be very valuable, affording the precise information whicb 
wuld be useful in tracing the progress of the art. 

A celebrated penman, Joseph '.-Champion,' who was born 
1709, next caused a sensation among the lovers of penmanship. 
He published a variety of works oh the subject, complete 
Alphabets of Characters, Copies of Engrossing Hands, Liv- 
ing Hands, Comparisons of Hands, &c. He was in great re- 
pute, and his schools were tilled with scholars, many of them 
people of consideration and high standing in England, 

In 1763, William Massey,\be principal of a Boarding School 
in Surrey, published a work from the London Press, shewing 
the origin of letters, which contained an account of writing 
from the earliest periods, as also the the lives of the most dis- 
tinguished English Penmen* 

The celebrated D'Alembert did not think the subject beneath 
his notice, since Sn 1760, he published his reflections on 
the history and different methods of writing* 

In our own day, King, Robert, Scott, Brayly, Miins, Butter- 
worth, Thomson, Smith, Tomkins and Hodgkin, have each 
published something on the subject* Thomas Astle, keeper 
of the records in the tower and an antiquary of reputation, has 
published a very beautiful work on the origin and progress of 
writing, which was printed in 1803, the year of his death, and 
contains information of a peculiar character. A copy of this 
work is to be found in the. State Library* 

Carstairs, wfooscsr^tem is now to be considered^ published his 
Lectures on the Art of Writing, a new system in 1814, and his 
Tachygraphy or Flying Penman, in 1815* 

Before we enter into the particular examination of his sys- 
tem, it rnay be welt to glance at those which have been promul- 
gated by some of our own countrymen. 

Jenkins appear* entitled to preference, at least for seniority* 
He published his System in 1791* He does not go into the 

{U'inciples of combination in words and sentences, except in 
arge hand. He is entitled to the merit of having given a very 
correct analysis of letters, useful rules for their formation, and 
directions for the position of the body. He gave no practical 
rules for the attainment of a running hand, but left the pupil 
t * subsequ .1 practice for executing it rapidly and freely. 
Dean's Analytical Guide is perhaps the most shewy 
work we have had in this country* It made its appear- 
ance in 1805* It has much to say about a large hand and the 
Mathematical forms of letter^ but contains little that may be re- 
duced to every day practice in this otherwise interesting work. 
The principal part consists of extracts from Astle's u Ori- 
gin and progress of writing," Several other works have 
been published frem time to timej— WrifforcPs on apian some- 

J "-ay. / 



* ■ 

what similar to Jenkins in 1810, and a larger work in 1824, iu 
which he advocates two motions for the hair stroke and shading, 
Huntington's, m 1 824, also destitute of originality,— Guernsey^ 
1820, in which the sharp angular hand is taugfet, and which m 
not permitted uitbose Counting Rooms where harness is carried 
on with predion,— Hewett's, Bands*, Town's, No^e^V Jack- 
son's, GmlSi and Chute 1 , which appear on examination to be 
mere copy books, and do not aspire to the character of .sy sterna- 
tized works* 1 

- - A work called ChVography published by the Chirographic so- 
ciety in Boston; 1325, is merely an abridgment of . Wnfford's, and 
pfrmifs the lifting the pen h orn paper in the formation of letters* 
Wc inunt not forget to notice one or two European- Writing Mas- 
ters of late date, who^e copies are known,- if not used in this 
country, and who may be classed with those- we have just enu- 
merated. Telfair, of Belfast, Ireland, published a beautiful 
work as late as 1833, which, however, is merely a set of cop- 
ies, and may be passed over as being impracticable of exe- 
cution with any degree of despatch. 

A recent work of Mr. Burgotri, a French writer, depends en- 
tirely upon the motion of the fingers for success in teaching 
the art, and in our view of the subject b imperfect, as will be 
perceived by reference to the system of Oarstairs. Another,, 
compiled by Ermeler, and published in 1818, contains a great 
variety of continental hands, and is really a beautiful work. 
It "ives no method however by which to direct inquirers* 

Having thus glanced at every author and every work of note 
on writing, which might elucidate our subject, or interest the 
student, i?e shall now proceed briefly to examine the celebrated 
method invented by Carstairs, t 

It may be tfaid of the old systems, that they uniformly pro- 
duced a number of bad consequences, such as the cramping of 
the wrist, the turning over of the hand, crooked instead of par- 
allel lines in writing, and required ihe labor of Jeans for the ac 
qulsition of even tolerable skilfulness; . 

Mr. Carstairs discovered according to the information given 
us, a very early attachment to the art he afterwards so suc- 
cessfully improved' and taught, and was made an assistant at 
the age of fourteen in the Free School at Wickhain, in the 
county of Durham. 

Frdm that period to the present, he has been indefatigable in 
the instruction of youth in all the usual branches of education. 

A vacancy in 1800 oecuring in the Counting Room of a 
Merchant, he was an applicant for the situation. It was that of 

i * 


H copying clerk, but he found himself unable to write with the 
Tapidily required by the transactions of the house- 

The consciousness of his* inability, drove him to a seclu- 
sion from business for three months, during which time he 
began to perceive some glimmerings of the system, which he 
afterwards perfected. Finding that he' improved in his own 
practice, he offered his services to the public as a Teacher of 
Writing, and his success vvkm such; that in 1303, he began Is 
be known as an eminent profess or of the art 

In 1609, he first communicated its principles in a paper 
lisHeci at ftew-Castle f upon Tyr^ *H in ffilfi n ne fh? ft^y- 

*al Dukes attended a meeting in London, at which : many of the 
most eminent men in the kingdom were present, when the sys- 
tem was approved, and recommended to the public at farg^v 
.^At the present day, it fe the most popular one in -Europe, 4nd 
as it has been rt*eei*t% introduced into this country by Mr. Fos- 
ter, k is certainly worthy the attention of our men of business, 
and ihe consideration of our scientific institutions. 

We will now examine thi^ system somewhat more minutely, 

.leaving however the natural inferences to be drawn by those 
who choose to interest themselves in the further consideration 
of its merits. 

Carstairs, proceeded upon the idea that an easy and flowing 
hand required by the exigencies of business, could only be pro- 
duced by a correspondent ease in the motion of the limb op 
member of the body executing it, and that the greatest ease 
Was not to be acquired by the use of any single part, but by 
the free action of the several parts which were found con- 
nected together, and which made up the human machine fdf 

This idea strikes us as being pcrfecdy philosophical. It is 
the same principal of combination, which led to the construc- 
tion of that part of the Steam Engine,' called the parallel mo- 
tion, by which an easy stroke lias been given to the pis- 
ton rod attached to the end of the lever beam, and which 
beam itself describing in its alternate movement, the arc of a 
circle, would naturally have thrown out of the perpendicu- 
lar line. 

He therefore considered that to obtain the greatest facility of 
execution, the joints of the fingers, wrist and elbow, should 
all be brought into play* and ihe arm itself should be the great 
producer of the combined motion* 

He considered ihe movement therefore, that of the arm, the 
fore arm and the hand. 

The arm waa to impel the hand along the line rapidlv md